Void Meditation Cult, the solo project of Desolate Defiler, began back in 2009 as Sperm of Antichrist. To the delight of parents everywhere, the name was changed almost immediately. The only prior release is a demo that was released twice, first as a four track demo and then as a split with themselves: side A featuring Void Meditation Cult and side B featuring Sperm of Antichrist. Since that split in 2013, the cult has remained quiet. Perhaps in hibernation plying their dark craft in a basement somewhere. Alas, they have emerged from that cellar in 2016 with Utter the Tongue of the Dead where they attempt to place the listener at the foot of their dark altar.
Somewhere beneath the layers of gun-toting Ohioans lies a much darker evil. It lays hidden among the shadows. It whispers like wind through the forests. It is banged out on animal skin drums among the hills (Ohio has hills, right?) and echoes throughout the valleys (I assume it has those too). And from it, the dies of fate eternal are cast. The evil lies in wait. Meandering among the thickets and scuttle brush outside your window (if you live in Ohio) ready to seep between the cracks in the foundation of your pre-fab home. Mutating itself into a gaseous form to reach the hardest to access portions of your misery… and other very dark, image-laden writing.
The formula is the same: the sound is such that it appears to be coming from a bog about 4 miles downwind of where your speaker are. The guitars are excessively distorted into a state of pure fuzz; and this becomes immediately evident with the title track. The vocals draw heavily from Finnish legends Ride For Revenge, as in “Mould and Blood,” with layered bass tones and spine-tingling whispers. Drawing from Beherit of the same school, the tracks are often slow, dirge-like in their efficacy that feels paced even when the drums hammer away at blast beats as in the final track “Goddess of the Waking Dead.”
The music created is demonically liturgical. “The Antichrist Prevails” employs something of an organ fading away in the background to finalize the church atmosphere. The effect creates a sort of chanted prayer that can be offered at the altar featured on the cover. This serves to reinforce intro “Blessed by Lycosidae (Opening Mass)” setting up Utter the Tongue of the Dead as a Satanic service in its entirety. Tracks like “Alms For The Eyeless Idol” create atmosphere and spook at a near crawl while the succeeding track “The Brimstone Hall” rides a more rock-paced blast into what could be described as more traditionally murky black metal.
The hoped-for effect of Desolate Defiler is so obvious as to bludgeon the listener with it’s mechanical repetition again and again. The music is meant to draw the listener into a deep state of, well, meditative reflection upon the darker aspects of life; Satan, Lucifer, the occult, Left Hand Path magic. The whispers drive this task home, like a white noise machine focusing the brain on the sounds that are not there—finding answers in the negative if you will. The album drones on, tracks bleeding into each other, fading in and out, almost as if the mix itself is meditatively blacking out. The result is an album that is nearly canonical, a dark hymnal for the listener to inhabit. Even with the lights on the album is enough to give you the jitters. But, with headphones, candles and the lights off (for full metal effect) Utter the Tongue of the Dead can be scarier than most horror movies.
Utter the Tongue of the Dead is exactly what we expect from Void Meditation Cult. It picks up exactly where the demo left off just a few years ago. Both the production and the overall atmosphere created by the songwriting are an improvement over the demo. And, while only 35 minutes, the Utter the Tongue of the Dead feels long at times. It’s a solid and promising effort from one of the bands keeping an old sound very, very much alive. So whether it’s from Ohio or Hell (if there really is a difference) it’s definitely worth a nighttime listen.