Purgatory Rites is a split release bringing together the distinctly different but similarly cast brew of blackened death metal of US metallers Fiends At Feast and Tragic Death. It is not a union or release for the faint hearted, its chilling textures and rapacious appetite permeating and imposing on senses and psyche with uncompromising ferocity. For all the vicious rabidity though there is also a rich vein of melodic expression and resourceful temperance to the Horror Pain Gore Death Productionsencounter which makes both sides of the proposition compelling provocateurs and something different from the norm which subsequently makes the release itself a formidable and riveting proposition.
Providing four pestilential tempests upon the release is Santa Cruz quintet Fiends At Feast, a band formed in 2008 by guitarists Sammer and David. Within weeks the line-up expanded with vocalist Loki and bassist Nathan Nunes, before after going through a couple of drummers, Marloc was added to the band in 2009. Debut EP Shadows Of Extinction two years later made an attention striking mark before first album Towards the Baphomet’s Throne of 2012 placed a keener spotlight upon the band. Merging sweat and blood with a tumultuous blend of black and death metal, Fiends At Feast take little time on the split to reinforce their reputation and stir up the imagination.
A spoken declaration opens up the vault to a torrent of destructive rhythms and scourging riffs all under the guttural malevolence of the gutturally rasping vocals. Four Winds of Destruction is a corrosive encounter straight away but one with bewitching melodic enterprise within the predation of the guitars which ensures predictability is scarcer than a comforting caress. Production wise it is a little hit and miss, the guitars surprisingly submerged within the welcome prowess and stalking of the bass and the demanding endeavour of the drums. It is not a major issue but does defuse some of their sharpness as they stand behind instead of alongside the vocal lead.
Through Immortal Gates is a similarly layered and malicious incitement though the alignment of each aspect is better in the overall assault of the track. Ravenous in its heart and rivetingly imaginative in its tenacity and adventurous landscape, the song makes for a gripping black hearted emprise, grooves and rhythms especially warrior like in pride and creative rabidity. It is a mouthwatering examination for thoughts and emotions to explore, an intimidating yet seductive playground for their running with the song’s narrative, something which is especially easy with the following instrumental Spectral Passageway. Soaked in emotive ambience and the stark breath of haunted pastures, the piece is a well for the imagination to paint with, the satanic breath of its companions keeping to the shadows as it casts beauty and poetic reflection. It also allows a breath to be swallowed before the serpentine and increasingly ferocious hunger of Into the Darkness envelops and immerses the listener in its noxious climate. Though not as impressive as certainly the previous pair of tracks it again reveals the potential of Fiends at Feast and their increasingly agreeable enslaving of the senses to complete a strong offering from a band easy to suggest to fans of the likes of Dissection, Immolation, and Watain.
Tragic Death is a trio from Madison, Wisconsin which like its companion here shows little mercy in its consuming of ears and beyond with destructive mix of back and death extremes with a thrash bred voracity. Self-penned as Apocalyptic Metal, the band’s sound has earned the 2009 formed band, a potent reputation through their debut album Apocalyptic Metal of 2012 and live performances. Purgatory Rites finds the band at its most inventively creative yet, opening track Suffer the Salvation alone visually descriptive through its melodic conjuring and aurally incendiary with passion chaining grooves and sonic mesmerism. Compared to Fiends At Feast there is a deeper atmospheric essence permeating their similarly predatory and malevolent presence and whereas the Californian four piece goes for the jugular before asking questions more often than not, Tragic Death take a murderous scenic route which is soaked in provocative imagery and emotive elegance within a venomous landscape.
Their remaining tracks, Withering Youth and The Dissolution of the Clay Children continue the impressive showing of the band, helping them steal the show from their equally impressive counterparts. The first of the two flirts and savages simultaneously, the guitars of Steven M. blistering and seductive within the tempestuous journey whilst his vocal rasps, as the rhythmic challenge of drummer Cody S. and bassist Joe D., leave sore yet blissful residues which linger and intensify the weight and lure of the song. Its successor is an epic fall through merciless and brutal scenic malignancy but again with twists of melodic and atmospheric colour which enthrals from within the tortuous air and oppression, a crafting as within all songs with elements of bands such as Rotting Christ, Enslaved, and Deathspell Omega to its bait.
The track brings the release to a powerful and dramatic end, and though not as gripping as the other pair of tracks from Tragic Death it reaffirms them as a band to keep a close attentive eye upon, just as to be fair Fiends At Feast achieve with their contributions also. The Purgatory Rites Split is a worthy investigation for blackened death metal fans and extreme metal adventurers everywhere and another potent step in the emergence of both bands.
Purgatory Rites Split is available now via Horror Pain Gore Death Productions @ hpgd.bandcamp.com/album/purgatory-rites-split-cd
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