Our Place of Worship Is Silence – Disavowed, and Left Hopeless Review

Don’t you hate it when people randomly come up to you and force you into happiness? You know, the types that just get in your face and tell you that “You’d be (prettier, handsomer, approachable, etc.) if you’d just smile more”? Because there are fewer things more unnerving and anger-inducing as toxic positivity, especially when we’re still a good couple of feet underwater when it comes to the pandemic, American politics, and the world continuously burning all around us. Californian duo Our Place of Worship Is Silence knows this, having thrown down just three years ago with With Inexorable Suffering, a promising album that combined the ugliness of sludge, the brutality of hardcore, and the murk of French black metal. Disavowed, and Left Hopeless sees guitarist/bassist/vocalist Eric and drummer/vocalist Tim throw a middle finger or two towards all things sunshine and happiness.

And after a solid instrumental, “Covenant of the Fallen” wastes no time in tearing you a fresh, clean orifice. Eric’s Morbid Angelic riffs and angular melodies swirl with hurricane-like ferocity, while Tim’s blasts and ridiculous fills see him never once leaving Beast Mode, as frivolities like subtlety and breathing space are hurled into space. If Nails were to take a deep dive into the more brutal side of Blut Aus Nord’s discography, you wouldn’t miss the mark too much as to what Disavowed is aiming for. There’s ferocious, and then there’s the seething hate on display in just this one song.

The rest of the songs remain blissfully frolic-free, unless you enjoy being crushed by the smothering weight of everything here. “Fury Divine” blasts and eviscerates while Eric deploys some grotesque roars from his guitar, offering a crazy focal point among the madness. “Mdłości II,” the closest thing the band comes to doom territory, offers the only moment of respite, and even then it’s not without its head-caving, nerve-slashing moments. Disavowed doesn’t take its time to set a mood, nor does it try to wow or impress with melodic runs of fancy or deep knowledge of lightning scale work. Instead, it carries its purpose to flatten and slash with sadistic glee, all while standing apart from their contemporaries through sheer conviction.

But man, do you need to be in the absolute right frame of mind to withstand this. I’ll admit, it took me several listens to even begin to grasp everything that’s going on, and even then, there are times when Disavowed felt a bit impenetrable. The oftentimes suffocating atmosphere felt a bit too suffocating, almost to the point of claustrophobia. Also, “Fury Divine” and closer “The Scourge” both overextended their welcomes, with both well north of the seven-minute mark and both featuring fade-outs to close them off. But what I heard here showed a massive improvement over With Inexorable Suffering, and I was impressed by what they had on offer back then. All I wanted was to be crushed and brutalized, and Our Place of Worship Is Silence more than delivered.

There’s something to be said about finding your happy place. That said, no one appreciates it when someone else tries to force you there. It’s okay to not be okay all the time. You don’t have to smile if you don’t want to. Sometimes, a primal scream into the ether is that valve in someone’s personal pressure cooker, and Our Place of Worship Is Silence supplied one hell of a shriek into the void with Disavowed, and Left Hopeless. If you’re in the mood for something frightening and unflinching, you could do far worse. Whatever your happy place is, make sure you look after yourselves and each other.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Translation Loss Records
Website: opowis.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: August 27th, 2021

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