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Album Review: Of Feather and Bone – Bestial Hymns Of Perversion

It’s a no-brainer as to why Profound Lore Records has obtained such legendary status as an independent label.  Every time they elect a band into their catalog, they tend to consistently stand out among each varying genre they are associated with via their own means of innovation.  Of Feather and Bone continue this trend, making a name for themselves among Profound Lore’s majorly influential archive with their label debut.  Bestial Hymns Of Perversion manages to layout a sprawling array of pure death metal chaos-a sound reminiscent of early Cannibal Corpse/Morbid Angel material.  Naturally, this may seem too good to be true, but right hand to Satan, it is. The Denver three-piece have truly cracked the coding to the extreme craft of old-school death metal, conjuring forth a 32-minute analysis of anarchy.  

                       

Transitioning from aggressive hardcore to classic death metal is an interesting change of pace.  Acts such as Nails and All Pigs Must Die smash together the two genres elegantly (or “disgustingly” in this case), which breeds an entirely new sound.  Of Feather and Bone have merely made a transition, for the most part leaving their old hardcore/crust influences behind. Occasionally some riffs can be traced to their older musical offerings, yet you could never guess upon hearing Bestial Hymns Of Perversion that they originally were of hardcore origin.  Perhaps these are merely mishaps, not even of intention, as these hardcore “tinges” are usually found within a segment of a song for mere seconds, perhaps in a singular riff.  As said, they showcase death metal in their sound entirely, one such instance being in their production.

The muffled production styling found within Bestial Hymns Of Perversion could equate to the sound quality of a crappy cassette player.  Ironically, the subdued production highlights and articulates certain elements of the record that may have been otherwise overlooked.  The guitar, for example, is muddy and unintelligible in terms of clarity, yet the production enhances the classic old-school death sound. And yes, this does make the record more brutal.  By choosing an old-school production sound, Of Feather and Bone manage to replicate old-school demo tapes, which will reward any death metal fan with some good ol’ nostalgia.

Despite it’s glory, the production is only a small fragment of the scope of raw death metal to be found on the record.  For, what would a death metal album be without riffs? And this record brings ‘em. Usually I find myself talking of vocals with the terms “guttural” and “aggressive”: however, the guitars seem to fit these descriptions even better, being scribed by Alvino Salcedo (bass) and Dave Grant (guitar). The album opens with a demonic chant replicating that of Hell Awaits, followed by a barrage of tremolo riffs.  The track “Resounding from the Depths” then builds tension nastily with a disgusting bending riff.  The final track “Throne of the Serpent” is a definite highlight, containing a slow, heavy, dissonant intro and ending with a pretty well-executed breakdown, the gutturals seeping into your being.  This is pure death metal riffage ripped straight from the late eighties – what more could a death metal fan want?

Although I mentioned the guitar riffs to perhaps be the album’s most aggressive element, the gutturals themselves are just as brutal, so don’t fret (I’m sorry for the pun).  Throughout the record, there are two main guttural stylings, one of a deeper, heavier nature (provided via Alvino Salcedo), and one being a more scratchy, thrash-oriented style (provided by Dave Grant).  Both of these guttural voicings are handled expertly within the album, advancing the musical destruction paved by the guitars. Occasionally there are even guttural harmonies, and what do you know, they sound fantastic.  Unlike a band such as Dying Fetus, however, the “harmonies” on the record don’t sound disgusting, more so simply fitting. They seem to mold together rather than differentiate, which sounds massive in scope and easily make for some of the album’s highlights.       

Bestial Hymns Of Perversion is easily a great death metal record, yet surprisingly my favorite subject of its contents is not in its package of heavy riffs, or in its array of guttural madness, not in it’s old-school production or it’s subtle hardcore incorporations, but the drumming.  The madman behind the crazed percussion is Preston Weippert, playing the conductor in the composition of the music as a whole.  Due to the riff variations being rather short and stale, in addition to their production being very obscure in terms of being audible, the drums are at the forefront, providing the balance necessary to maintain the record’s non-stop aggression.  They capitalize upon the stringed lunacy littered throughout the record, organizing the instrumentation with the various drumming patterns and accents, tinkering with the archetype of metal drumming to a tee.   

Regarding their music, Of Feather and Bone have stated the following: “You could say that the music we’re making now is ‘just death metal,’ but really it’s what we love, what we listen to, and it [has] pushed our limits in every way. [It’s] brought out the best in each of us”.  The musical passion of the trio gleams within Bestial Hymns Of Perversion, as they really did put themselves into it.  It’s a great death metal record, revisiting the genre’s golden age.  Does it strive for anything revolutionary? No, yet that isn’t a problem.  For fans of extreme music, this record is a necessity to listen to. It’s a record stuffed to the brim with destructive riffs, gutturals, blast beats, and a production sound which makes audibility a minority, a combination that would make even the most die-hard, assaholic elitist happy.          

Bestial Hymns Of Perversion is available NOW via Profound Lore Records.  Go buy it!

 

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