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Encoffination: III—Hear Me, O' Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs)

The inevitably of death has regularly been framed as a problem for humankind. Indeed, many of the products and practices of the world we live in offer ways to combat the ravages of time. Think of all the stuff that promises to keep us young or to cure all our sicknesses quickly and magically. Some nations, like the United States, for example, even become obsessed with youthfulness, particularly as it manifests itself in celebrity culture. Whatever human beings try, though, death will always come at the last, sometimes expected and sometimes at random. However any of us go, death is one of the sure things on which we can all depend. Unlike those who try to address death as a problem, the members of Encoffination offer here an album entirely about the reality of death. At times, it's rather worshipful, an attempt to look at death reverently.

The music on this album is dark and gloomy, slow moving and deliberate. From start to finish, it bears all the hallmarks of a funeral procession. To listen is to imagine the power of death creeping over human life and slowly finding a way to unleash its power. Neither a lamentation nor a celebration, the music here is simply caught up with the idea of death as the ultimate fate of all human beings. Treated with a godlike reverence, death becomes the honored guest. One might compare the music here to that moment in Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death" when the visitor death just appears unexpectedly. Before unleashing hell, the figure is just there, alone, mysterious, and threatening. That moment, the one just before death makes its final blow—that's the moment the music here captures. And it succeeds.

The vocals, low and growled, fill the spaces with menace. They sound almost like a monster locked deep below the surface of the earth, its voice never trying to be pleasant or interesting or persuasive. It just is. I was rather fascinated with the sound, finding it a terrific variation on all the various grunts and growls available these days. As for the songs, they are all quite long and somewhat repetitive. Still, the album makes for a rather satisfying listen. Mind you, this is the kind of music that surrounds you, filling up the spaces around you, and causing slight feelings of dread and claustrophobia. It isn't for the faint of heart, but certainly made for a dark and fascinating listen.

Track Listing:
1. Processional—Opvs Thanatologia
2. Charnel Bowels of a Putrescent Earth
3. Cemeteries of Purgation
4. Crowned Icons
5. Rotting Immemorial
6. From His Holy Cup, Drink; Come Death
7. Pale Voices
8. Mould of Abandonnment

Added: January 2nd 2015
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1388
Language: english

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