Review Summary: when a funeral home director picks up a guitar...
The mutilated offspring offered up by two of death metal's finest musicians in recent years, Encoffination's O'Hell, Shine In Thy Whited Sepulchres
is the band's second effort, and an album that further drags death/doom metal into the underworld of hopelessness and despair. Coming but a year after their debut Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh
, vocalist/guitarist/bassist Ghoat (also of Father Befouled) and drummer Elektrokutioner (Father Befouled, Decrepitpah, etc...) have created their finest album yet, one that thrives on death and transports you into a realm of fear and solitude.
Steeped in an atmosphere that will make your hair stand on end, it's actually the day job of Ghoat that stands as the central inspiration for this chilling concept album about the rituals of dying and death; aside from his time spent in a myriad of other death metal projects, Ghoat's work as funeral home director is the biggest influence on the album, and the largest reason the band can so flawlessly create such morbid music. Taking the true death he touches everyday and incorporating it into the songwriting process of Encoffination's music, the palpable stench of the deceased lingers throughout the entirety of O'Hell...
, the odour Ghoat and Elektrokutioner have worked so meticulously to realize. Artistically, O'Hell, Shine In Thy Whited Sepulchres
is a complete success, fulfilling the ambitions of Encoffination completely and adding a great deal to the album's overall success.
In the process of creating their perfect atmosphere, the deathly duo have in many ways replicated the musical approach of Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh
, this time refining their super slow death/doom metal into its most effective form. Where the former album was indeed slow, O'Hell
redefines the word; moving at a pace that sounds like other dooms band slowed down, the down tempo of O'Hell
gives the chance for every filth ridden riff that Ghoat creates to ring off into oblivion, their lives snuffed out long before another is born anew. The production while still dirty as ever has been cleaned every so slightly, giving the guitars density and making Elektrokutioner's drumming all the more weighty. In songs like "Rites of Ceremonial Embalm’ment" and "Annunciation of the Viscera" the addition of haunting church bells goes along perfectly with the trudging powerchords and downtuned tremolo riffs, as does the subtle organ backdrop of "Ritual Until Blood"; it's small additions such as these that not only mesh so perfectly with the other instruments but help the album reach that sought after despondent atmosphere.
Even at their own admission, Encoffination has stated that on O,Hell Shien In Thy Whited Sepulchres
is not for everyone; this state rings as true as the group's everlasting guitar riffs, but for those who do enjoy intensely slow music and particularly death/doom this album is nothing but an (un)pleasant treat. As a group who is dedicated to following their twisted vision without absolutely no compromise, the sense of honesty that carries itself along with the abhorrent waft of death makes this album special, and easily the best thing this duo has yet to do in their career. With talks of a new album already on the horizon for a 2012 release, the tangible honesty along with the band's extreme approach to creating terrifying music with no doubt create another fantastic release with hordes pale faced basement dwelling fans to eat it up.