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Album Review: Purification – Destruction of the Wicked

Purification of Portland, Oregon isn’t interested in wasting anyone’s time. Along with putting out two EPs mere months after their mid-2018 formation, the doom duo has also readied their first full-length offering for a 2019 release. Such swift movement may not see any dramatic stylistic growth, but their bawdy inquisitor approach to traditional doom is considerably more developed and that much closer to full realization on Destruction of the Wicked.

The album never quite descends into demo quality levels but there is definitely a lo-fi presentation throughout. The production is quite raw, and the mix can feel unbalanced at times. The band dynamic feels off-kilter as the vocal delivery has a clean but untrained, flustered melodicism, the drumbeats are blunt, and a complete absence of guitar results in the bass bringing forth the riffs and the synths providing textures in lieu of conventional leads.

Such a method should feel amateurish or lacking, but the musicians know how to work within their confines. The bass carries the load quite nicely, putting in a healthy mix of fuzz, wah, and harmonized layering while the synths do a smooth job of rounding things out, most notably on the interlude “Ten Years Gone (In One Eye’s Blink).” The drums also establish the tempo quite well and the quirky vocal timing gives the album a better sense of character. I wouldn’t quite call it a throwback effort, but it really recalls the rougher aspects of Witchfinder General or Hallow’s Victim-era Saint Vitus.

Some varied songwriting also works to keep things interesting, especially during the album’s second half. “Hadji Murad” is an immediate highlight thanks to a weighty blues shuffle that sees a pounding revisit on the closing “The Hammer Speaks the Truth of Heavy Metal Law.” The doom punk venture on “Genocide 1848” reminds me of something that Lucifer’s Fall would put together while “Steppenwulf” makes the most of its more drawn out pacing before assuming a more deliberate gallop and closing chants.

Overall, Destruction of the Wicked might’ve benefitted from a little extra polish but there’s no denying the mastery that Purification already shows in this rough and tumble environment. The duo really makes the most of their chosen format as the guitar absence never compromises the classic doom vision and the songwriting never loses itself to overcompensating atmosphere. Anybody looking for a gruff answer to such groups as Pale Divine or Lord Vicar is strongly advised to give Purification a shot. Here’s hoping they can get some strong momentum behind them!

Highlights:
“Hadji Murad”
“Genocide 1848”
“Steppenwulf”
“The Hammer Speaks the Truth of Heavy Metal Law”

Editor Grade

A-

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