Morbid Destitution of Covenant
posted on 10/2010 By:
Morbid Destitution of Covenant marks Father Befouled’s second entry in the annals of death metal and their first via Relapse Records. I can think of at least two possible interpretations of this album’s aims. Which one you choose for yourself will determine how enjoyable you find it.
It’s possible that Father Befouled really want to be weird; Morbid Destitution of Covenant would therefore represent their effort to break into the largely-unexplored netherworld roamed by Immolation, Portal, and the like. It’s also possible that Father Befouled just want to play some ‘dirty old-school death metal that pays tribute to the masters.’
If Father Befouled were shooting for the former, they missed the mark. Morbid Destitution of Covenant does feature some minor idiosyncrasies. The band is enamoured of ear-piercing pick squeals, whiplash-inducing slowdowns, and super-far-away vocal moaning. But despite the eerie window dressing, Father Befouled doesn’t really get all up in your psyche here. These songs rely far more heavily on big riffs than they do on atmosphere or weirdness.
And if you look at it that way—as an exercise in big, traditionalist riffs—Morbid Destitution of Covenant does better for itself. The album’s murky-but-loud production highlights boatloads of harrowing tremolo, monster tom wallops, and sickly harmonies. Father Befouled knows how to satisfy a death metal fan’s brainstem-level desire for brutality, and most of Morbid Destitution of Covenant is spent in pursuit of that simple craft.
All of this is a rather roundabout way of saying the following: Father Befouled has some trippy tendencies, but at the end of the day, they’re not much more than yet another Incantation clone. For some people, that’s enough—if all you care about is another trip down DM-memory lane, then headbang yourself silly to the sounds of Morbid Destitution of Covenant.
But Incantation clones are a dime a dozen these days (not to mention that Incantation still exists). Father Befouled, who formed just three years ago, has arrived too late and brought too little to the table with them to make much of an impact. Sadly, this album is more likely to be remembered as a sign of Relapse’s increasingly lax signing standards than as a retro masterpiece.
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