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Review

Encoffination – We Proclaim Your Death O’ Lord Review

Band: Encoffination
Album: We Proclaim Your Death O’ Lord
Label: Selfmadegod
Genre: Doom/Death Metal
Country: United States of America
Release Date: May 17th, 2019

Encoffination is a misery-filled Doom/Death Metal act split between San Diego, California and Atlanta, Georgia; made up of Elektrokutioner (Wayne Sarantopoulos) and Ghoat (Justin Blake Stubbs) both from, at some point, Father Befouled among many other projects. The reason I bring up Father Befouled is that the genesis of their sound, and Encoffination’s, is Incantation, from which they take different sections. Where Father Befouled handles more straight-forward Death Metal, Encoffination deals completely in the funereal dirges; Encoffination speeds up to the same tempo that most bands in this genre call their slow sections. This was a band I tried to get into a few years ago, and it didn’t click, but something about them made me keep coming back, then one day I put on their album O’ Hell, Shine in Thy Whited Sepulchres, and it floored me. I spent a while burning through the rest of their discography, and couldn’t believe that there was a new release of theirs sitting on our calendar.

With seven songs coming together for 43 minutes of crushing Doom/Death, We Proclaim Your Death O’ Lord is their fourth full-length after a slew of EPs, splits, and a compilation. This release, made possible by Selfmadegod, follows the same guidelines that set up the previous work from these doomsayers; atmospheric, incredibly lethargic, and almost droning music that requires long attention spans to say the least. This album demands the listener spend a lot of time with repeating motifs, morbidly crawling progressions and songs that sometimes don’t even progress much at all. As much as that sounds like a criticism, it is to the band’s credit that it manages to be their strength. These compositions are both long, and because of the tempo, require active and passive listening simultaneously; you need to dig through the murk to make out what they are doing, but if you don’t let the music roll over you in its pessimistic waves, you’re missing the point.

Elektrokutioner handles the drums with Ghoat in charge of the bass, guitar, keyboards, and vocals. The drums are the only part that doesn’t drag through the mud, still slow, just more agile; they often conjured images of feet scrambling up a hill as the land erodes at an unhurried, but consistent, pace into the abyss below. Elektrokutioner manages to make the drums interesting in an extreme version of a sub-genre where they are usually fairly boring; typically utilized just to establish and accent the crawling momentum, here they speed up and slow down, achieving the same highlighting of the pace, but with the juxtaposition of the drums to everything else, it is dynamic instead of dull. Ghoat handles, from what I can tell, everything else; from unusual instruments like gongs, pipe organs, to the more standard guitar, bass, and keyboards, the atmosphere and the direction of the song rest on his shoulders. Like most of the music, the guitars are usually slow, with the exception of a quick buzzing guitar line that is used as a hazy blanket to drape over the rest of the music. Bass lines are hard to pick out, save for a few moments where it rises above the din, but they do add to the heaviness in the mist. Keyboards add a little off-kilter light to the dark proceedings, with eerie melodies slithering through the oppressive maelstrom; sparingly used, these doses of odd instrumentation save this style from being an exercise in tempo manipulation, but without becoming so keyboard heavy as to qualify as symphonic. Vocals are nearly inaudible death growls that sound like bones rattling around in his throat; as the vocals are intentionally hard to make out, the lyrics remain a mystery to me, though the imagery is usually the death of religion and religious figures.

Encoffination is an acquired taste, and in a realm full of sound-alikes and people-pleasers, it is invigorating to find something that is unabashedly not for everyone. If you choose to seek out this extreme take on Doom/Death, you know what you’re in for and you are completely on board, this isn’t for drive-by fans. This is the kind of album that would be greatly served by listening to it in a continuous format like vinyl or tape, as segues from one song into another often add to the ambiance and the pause, however brief, of digital or CD, takes away from the immersion. We Proclaim Your Death O’ Lord is a monument of tortured Doom/Death that offers no respite for the weary and is easily my favorite of their full-lengths. I have no idea how their aural terror translates to the live stage, but I hope I get the chance to find out.

Rating: 8/10

Tracklist:

  1. Ebony Skulls
  2. Graveside Monoliths
  3. The Keys Of Hell And Death
  4. Robe And Crown
  5. Mysterium Fidei
  6. A Monstrance Of Human Bone
  7. Haunted Voices

Total Playing Time: 43:04

Click here to visit Encoffination’s Bandcamp

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