There was a healthy stretch of years where I fell mostly out of love with death metal. Two primary reasons behind this: First, a discovery of a true kinship with the more artsy-fartsy realm of weird, lo-fi black metal that resonated very clearly when it came time to reconnect with the primal side of life; wheerfing down goblets of red wine after evenings spent under the influence of imperial lycanthropy, as opposed to knuckle-dragging through yet another Swedeath battlefield with some variance of a well-worn skull-smashing death metal hammer/flanged mace/oh-my-Lord-what-kind-of-mushrooms-were-in-that-salad?
Second, the overly technical and *core developments that dominated the death metal scene in the early 00s drove me away. In fact, outside of the occasional Slugathors of the time, the bulk of my death metal listening from about 2002–2006 was mostly comprised of the very same bands that dominated ears during the genre’s golden age.
Luckily, a slew of new blood that sounded as if they’d been freed from some forgotten death metal fissure began making serious waves around ’06/’07 and caught my ear. Deathevokation and their superb Blood demo, followed by their near-flawless The Chalice of Ages LP (best death metal album of the last decade), alongside dark death occult weavers such as Necros Christos and Teitanblood, and, of course, regressive Grecian head-loppers Dead Congregation. In short, these bands found a way to recapture and deliver the principle elements people loved about death metal throughout the 90s: Dark, implacable cruelty galloping (ofttimes slowly) on the backs of iron-plated riffs intent on pulverizing bones to powder. Pure and simple.
In the case of Greece’s Dead Congregation, the blueprint mostly involved a clear and devout allegiance to the early works of Incantation and Immolation, and Promulgation of the Fall – full-length number two (and six years in the making) – does little to stray from that well-worn path. Hey, if it ain’t broke, beat ’em over the head with it until they can’t tell their arse from their elbow, amiright? Well, you ass-armed elbow-sitters, get ready to crap down your sleeves until the cows come home, because the bevy of villainous riffs and ass-whipping clinic put on by drummer V.V. throughout Promulgation’s 40-minutes is truly head-flattening. Take a listen to “Immaculate Poison” and put that clumsily cobbled together Ikea furniture to the test:
of the Fall by Dead Congregation&amp;lt;/a&amp;gt;
The above tune does a perfect job of demonstrating the full spectrum of the record’s overloaded dominance: Crush, roar, tromp, furiously whip, and then burn what’s left of the husk in a grimy dumpster that weeps its impurities to the earth via its rotten underbelly. Repulsiveness. Beautiful, beautiful repulsiveness brought wriggling to life through exquisite regressive death metal that mocks the idea of reinventing the wheel as if it were sitting front-and-center at a Don Rickles show circa 1985.
For those who became familiar with the band through their excellent debut, expect the same degree of cursed darkness, but with far less beating around the bush in terms of getting to the business of leveling through riffs. Also, Promulgation flashes a bit more melody in the corners of the overall guitar work, but it’s still mostly from the Rick Rozz school of maggoty leads, so the blanketing vibe never really breaks from the murk into anything a sane person would consider downright “pretty.”
Honestly, the record is damn-near bullet proof if you happen to thrive on a steady diet of the NY style of abominable death metal that ran the table in the early 90s. From top to bottom, Promulgation of the Fall delivers the sort of sharp strikes to the flesh you’d expect from Longinus on his worst day. And pushing the appeal over the top is the fact that the record also boasts a near perfect production to trot alongside all the savagery.
Promulgation of the continued rise of one of death metal’s more promising bands.