Review Summary: the inevitable obsolescence of flesh
Can anything in the history of history claim the same breadth of spiritual significance as bones? Reverence of remains is a concept far elder than any language, religion or creed, and nothing of any of us remains longer than our bones. Anyone who remotely understands this morbid reverence ought to visit the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic. An otherwise unremarkable chapel, it rather arbitrarily became the resting place for an unusually high volume of dead because of the apocryphal claim that its grounds had been consecrated with soil taken from Golgotha itself. As time passed and its graveyards swelled further from plagues and famines and various other cool medieval adversities, the names of those resting there were forgotten and their masses of enduring bones were eventually... repurposed.
Presently, inside the subterranean chapel awaits a uniquely visceral spiritual experience. The excavated crypt features among other grim ornamentation an incredibly intricate chandelier crafted from at least one of every bone from the human body; bizarre, heraldic arrangements of humeri, femurs and tibiae; and tirelessly watching mounds of countless solemn skulls. Any feeble Christian imagery remaining in the place pales in overwhelming insignificance to the humbling presence of so many bones.
Fellow arbiters of interment, Ossuary, who are certainly not the first band to use the name but one who have proven themselves worthy of it, hold a similar grisly awe for all things skeletal and demonstrate this excellently with their supremely degraded second release. Eschewing some of the rawness that characterised their 2015 effort Cremation Ritual
, while consolidating the bleak atmosphere that makes their song crafting so strong, these calcium enthusiasts have produced some of the grimmest death metal of the decade.
Nothing typifies Supreme Degradation
’s revelry in the inevitable obsolescence of flesh like the alluring rasp of the vocal performance. Effectively placed against the instruments, the often layered lines harshly enunciate phlegm drenched evil to temper the guitar playing. Largely dominated by a spiny, mid paced riff repertoire with tremolos aplenty, Supreme Degradation
showcases Ossuary’s confidence in their radiantly raw guitar tone with its dusting of melody to complete the atrophy. The considered pace lends itself well to the fracturing drums which are excellently produced, their echoing rumble vividly reverberating around a dismal crypt in the mind’s eye (ear?). Faster sections aren’t exactly rare either, manifested in withering grooves or opulent treble heavy lead sections that are penetrating enough to extract marrow.
Fortunately, the sobering finality of fate realised within the walls of Sedlec Ossuary does not yet apply to the band Ossuary. Just their second release, totalling just over 25 minutes, Supreme Degradation
suggests there is a sense that this band's best material is yet to come. Fans of occult, subterranean death should get this, it’s good for the bones.