Although technically no longer a triumvir since reverting back to two-piece lineup after the departure of bassist Absque, Portland’s Triumvir Foul definitely still live up to the second half of their name on Spiritual Bloodshed. It doesn’t hurt that the two remaining members—Cedentibus on drums and Ad Infinitum on guitars and vocals—also play together in Ash Borer, but don’t approach this record expecting the same kind of epic, forward-thinking black metal their other band is known for. Instead, Triumvir Foul plays putrid death metal in the vein of early Morbid Angel – it’s musically dense, atmospherically claustrophobic, and the sulfuric stench of occult magicks emanates from its every pore. Death metal just doesn’t get much better than this.
I loved Triumvir Foul’s self-titled debut, so I was really looking forward this record. I’m happy to report that while it doesn’t really depart much from what they were doing on that first record, it still improves on that album in almost every conceivable way. The songwriting feels more focused, the riffs sound even viler, the production is raw enough to abrade skin, and the performances have teeth that cut even deeper than before. On the whole, the album seems slightly less esoteric as well – instead of referencing three-horned Mesopotamian snake demons in the song titles, they take a slightly simpler approach with songs like “Entranced by Filth” and “Vomitous Worship in Rotting Tombs.”
The record is so consistent overall that it’s difficult to pick out a track or two as highlights, but the opening riff to “Tyrannical Flesh” and the moody, tempo-shifting “Disemboweled Pneuma” are both string candidates. The caustic crawl of the intro section of closer “Vrasubatlatian Rites” might be the most unsettling stretch of music on the album, and the track’s extended blackened noise outro is truly the stuff of nightmares.