June 6, 2017

Father Befouled - Desolate Gods.

Father Befouled - Desolate Gods.

Review by Trevor Proctor.

From Atlanta, Georgia, Father Befouled was formed in 2007; the band initially consisted of two members, vocalist and guitarist Justin Stubbs and Wolxum who performed bass and drums. Father Befouled plays suffocating, sepulchral Death Metal with lyrical content featuring topics such as death and blasphemy with their music in the vein of the likes of Incantation, Blaspherian, and Imprecation.

The band released their first demo, ‘Sacrificing Oblivion,’ independently on CD in June 2008 – a monster of a demo that featured eleven tracks and spanned close to fifty minutes. The demo proved popular enough to be released on vinyl by Psychedelic Lotus Order in June 2010 as a limited and remastered version. A mere month since the release of their demo Father Befouled released their debut full length ‘Obscurus Nex Cultus’ which was released on CD by Gasmask Productions and also received a later cassette release by UK label, Eldritch Lunar Miasma Records.
Father Befouled continued as a two piece and brought us even more music during 2008 when they released the ‘Profano ad Regnum’ EP which was released on CD and vinyl by Enucleation Records in November.

The band’s membership changed significantly during 2009 when it expanded to four members with Justin Stubbs remaining and Kohn on bass, Ghoul on guitar and Antichristus (R.I.P. 2009) on drums, releasing the ‘Summoned for Sacrifice / Christlike Dementia’ 7” split EP with Decrepitaph in May 2009. A further split entitled ‘Ruination of the Heavenly Communion,’ which they shared with Helcaraxë, was released in July 2009 but with the original line up of Justin Stubbs and Wolxum performing all tracks. 
The EP entitled ‘Rotting Godless Throne’ was released in July 2010 and featured the same line up as the ‘Christlike Dementia’ split but with session drummers playing on two of the tracks and new drummer Wayne Sarantopoulos performing drums on track two, ‘Testament of Unholy Essence.’ A second album followed the next month entitled ‘Morbid Destitution of Covenant,' and Father Befouled were well and truly on the path to legendary status within the underground. Their only output during 2011 was a 7” split they shared with Demonic Rage but by June 2012 Father Befouled had released their third album, ’Revulsion of Seraphic Grace.’ However, after this album the output of Father Befouled slowed in comparison to their earlier years and in July 2013 they released a split shared with Macabra – the release was fittingly dedicated to their previous drummer, Antichristus, who committed suicide in 2009 and featured ‘Profane Grace of the Trinity’ the first recording Antichristus ever done with Father Befouled
The only other release from the band since then was the compilation entitled, ’Enthroning Desolation: A Collection of Demos, Live, & Rare Tracks,’ which was released in March 2015.

Across their ten year career Father Befouled has steadily built a solid reputation and become one of the underground’s most dependable bands and thankfully the five year wait for new material is almost over as they are set to release their fourth album, ‘Desolate Gods’ via Dark Descent Records on the 23rd of June. 
‘Desolate Gods’ was recorded during various sessions in Atlanta between August and December 2016. The album was mixed and mastered by Dan Lowndes from Cruciamentum at Resonance Sound Studio and the album’s striking artwork is the creation of Alex MORKH Shadrin from Nether Temple Design. ‘Desolate Gods’ features eight tracks of very strong and varied Death Metal that span just over thirty one minutes. 

'Exsurge Domine' serves as an intro to the album and sets the scene with its doom like pace, lasting for close to two minutes before ‘Offering Revulsion’ marks the onset of Father Befouled’s potent, cavernous Death Metal. Father Befouled’s music is driven by the guitar work which is the beating heart of this album, influencing the pace and tone throughout. All the musicians obviously play their part in weaving the structure and sound of ‘Desolate Gods’ but it’s the extremely varied guitar work that drives it forward. 
One attribute that sets Father Befouled’s music apart from many is their unbeaten knack of dropping the pace from hectic, all-out Death Metal to a doom like pace and vice-versa - this skill is heard frequently throughout the album and makes for a varied listen. The music is intensely heavy across the album’s duration but it’s these slower sections that punctuate and amplify the heavier parts. 
Instrumental, ‘Vestigial Remains of...’ is a shining example of this - it’s a mournful dirge that manages to trap your attention with its heavy yet captivating solo guitar work, the track holds your attention for over three minutes before Father Befouled let rip with closer, ‘Desolate Gods,’ an absolute beaut of a track that showcases the heaviness of the band and as such forms a suitably intense way to close the album. ‘Ungodly Rest’ is another stand out track for its sheer heaviness, the track takes off with a riff as slow as it is heavy, taking the listener on an ominously slow excursion but the absolute star of this track is the mid-point guitar solo, which bleeds emotion from every note - pure genius that’s perfectly placed to accentuate the heavier and faster sections towards the end of the track. 

Granted, the roots of Father Befouled’s music lie within the music from the likes of Incantation but across their career they have crafted their own individual sound and have become a stalwart of U.S. Death Metal. This is a very strong album, I'd even say their strongest to date, and one that every fan of Death Metal should pay attention to.

Essential listening for any fan of Death Metal. 9/10.

01 - Exsurge Domine (Intro)
02 - Offering Revulsion
03 - Mortal Awakening
04 - Exalted Offal
05 - Ungodly Rest
06 - Divine Parallels
07 - Vestigial Remains of...
08 - Desolate Gods.

Desolate Gods by Father Befouled will be available via Dark Descent Records on CD and digital formats from the 23rd of June. A number of previous Father Befouled releases are available from their Bandcamp page by clicking here.

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