Dead Congregation – Purifying Consecrated Ground (Reissue) Review

originally written by Chris McDonald

I believe it was Morbid Angel guitarist Trey Azagthoth who said that true death metal should sound like an oncoming storm; a dark thundercloud of brutally heavy riffs, thunderous drums, and inhuman vocals, creeping slowly through the sky to consume the listener whole. It seems that this element of morbid heaviness is absent in a lot of today’s death metal bands, who seem more focused on sweep-picking through as many notes as humanly possible, while anyone who listens to and enjoys old-school death metal knows that it’s the feeling that made the great music of the late 80’s/early 90’s so dark and intense, not just being as fast and technical as possible–see early Death, Immolation, and Autopsy. So it’s great to see a young band like Dead Congregation focusing on heaviness and atmosphere over wankery and ridiculous speed, and even better when the end results are this brutally excellent. This, ladies and gents, is death metal the way it was meant to be played.

Hailing from Greece, Dead Congregation’s debut full length album Graves Of The Archangels caused a justifiable stir in the metal underground when it was released earlier this year, so it only makes sence that the outfit’s debut EP, Putrefying Consecrated Ground, gets the reissue treatment. For those expecting a light speed gravity-blast fest, stay far away. The primary influence here is unrepentantly that of the classic New York death metal bands, specifically Immolation and Incantation (I also hear some Drawn and Quartered, though they aren‘t that old or from New York), which means darkly suffocating riffs, an oppressive, churning heaviness, and an air of complete, anti-social barbarity. While these guys obviously spent plenty of time listening to Dawn Of Possession and Onward To Golgotha, the material is executed so well that the tribute only works in the band’s favor. A revival band these guys ain’t.

Blazing opener “Vomitchrist” introduces the EP in pummeling fashion, with a furious assault of blasting drums and cavernous riffing, topped off by the guttural bellows of vocalist/guitarist A.V; any question as to the band’s intentions (read: depravity and violence) should be well erased after the duration of this barnburner. The production, raw and bass-heavy, gives the guitars an incredibly crushing, sinister tone; check out the brilliant groove and brutal sludge of EP-highlight “Lucid Curse,” or the grim tremolo/double bass thrashing offered by “Downward Spiral Of Morbidity.” Riff quality is absolutely top-notch (“Feasting Angelcunts” containing some particularly bone-chilling licks), and the musicianship is perfect for the style Dead Congregation plays; just sloppy enough to keep things organic, but certainly more than competent in all areas (the drumming is sick). And at a scant eighteen-minute running time, Putrefying Consecrated Ground grabs you right by the throat and doesn’t let go until the last track is fading out of your speakers.

You just don’t hear that much death metal these days that sounds so delightfully evil. Inhumanly fast? Plenty of that. Technical? Everyone and their mother. But few modern bands are better at achieving a morbid and chaotic atmosphere than Dead Congregation, and that‘s a much more notable achievement in my book. If you loved Graves Of the Archangels, you need this EP. If you have yet to check out this extremely promising new death metal force, now’s the perfect time.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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