To perhaps clarify my position towards this record, I’ll begin by stating that as soon as I found out that this death metal band playing in the early 90s style of doom influenced obscurity was releasing a full length on cassette with Ritval Death Offerings, I sent my order out immediately. Naturally, my judgement was correct – Encoffination play a gloomy, darkness-ridden manifestation of death/doom, taking the very best of bands like dISEMBOWELMENT
, Sempiternal Deathreign
and melding it into an atmosphere reminiscent of Incantation
or even Morpheus Descends
The two invokers behind Encoffination - Ghoat and Elektrokutioner - reveal their death metal pedigree from the vast number of bands and projects they are involved in, including the likes of Father Befouled
. Nevertheless, Encoffination surpasses both of these bands easily in terms of cohesion and atmosphere. This as of yet tape-only album (I believe a vinyl release is scheduled for later in the year) is a dark and torturous journey through ritualistic death metal, taking the genre to its deepest extremes. The huge slathering of down-tempo doom is a major constituent of the album’s malevolent atmosphere – in between the frenetic tremolo riffs and the classic sound samples, crushing riffs lurch and lumber across the tape-deck’s speakers.
Ghoat’s other group Father Befouled is perhaps the best band to make a comparison with when describing Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh
– the two bands share an almost identical style, but it is mostly in the execution of said style that differentiates the bands. Father Befouled follow the Incantation brand far more closely, with any doom-laden sections brief and readily audible. Encoffination, on the other hand, play a far denser and, for want of a better expression, ‘obscure’ style of death metal. Clarity is definitely not what the band was going for when the album was mixed, and the claustrophobic production (almost as horrifying as the likes of Portal
) gives the record a delightfully macabre ambiance, as well as rendering Ghoat’s Craig Pillard imitation as immaculate.
There seems to be a flood of ‘old-school’ styled death metal records as of late, recreating almost every variation of death metal heard in the last twenty years. Originality is seemingly thrown out the window, but is this a bad thing? Not when really great records like Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh
are being released. Any death metal fan should have his (or her) tongue lolling at the likes of Stench of Decay
, and Encoffination is firmly rooted in the same camp – it reinvigorates classic death metal (and does it well), along with giving younger listeners like myself a chance to experience quality death/doom on tape. If you’ve enjoyed any of the bands making up the ‘old-school revival’, this is undoubtedly for you.