Encoffination - O' Hell, Shine In Thy Whited Sepulchers
Recently, I've been digging heavily into a wide array of some of the most dark, insidious and fear-inducing metal I've heard in years. Somehow, each subsequent album's worth of twisted material seems to get worse (in a good way, mind you) than the last. Now, before me I have Encoffination and their offering O' Hell, Shine In Thy White Sepulchers. The name is as creative as the atmosphere they've manifested throughout, one of unfathomable horror, choking the life out of the light of hope and faith. Inspired by frontman Ghoat's work in a funeral parlor, the stink and rot of death is as fresh as the smell of your own fear-induced sweat as this mammoth of an album reduces you to cowering in front of your speakers. Impressionable folk beware; you may not be able to comprehend what's being spoken, but somehow that makes what you hear all the more terrifying.
"Sacrum Profanum Processionali" quickly lays out the thematic atmosphere of the album, and it sounds to my ears like a sound bite from a movie I haven't heard. While I typically enjoy producing reviews with a track-by-track format, O' Hell, Shine In Thy White Sepulchers tends to negate that line of thinking entirely. Many will find the continuous down-tuned, agonizingly slow and crushing grind of the album monotonous before long. Others who find themselves engaged in the atmosphere the album creates will become so entranced and lost as to not notice the end as it passes them by. This has happened to me every time I've tried to better dissect the album, and frankly it is much more of a 45 minute experience than a series of 5 minute highlights. I can say for sure that the section I found myself most engaged in was the latter half of the album, in particular moments from "Crypt of his Communal Devourment", "Washed And Buried" and "Pall of Unrequited Blood". Let it be known that titles like that do absolutely everything to relate to the uninitiated the truest sense of death and horror this album portrays. Truth in advertising, to the letter.
I've experienced honest-to-God dread and terror from this recording, something I've felt rarely from music but something I always relish in. You've probably noticed I speak nothing of the musicianship or technical prowess of the band (two members, by the way). I feel as if I don't need to. What's been created with O' Hell, Shine In Thy White Sepulchers is an atmosphere of monumental proportions, something in which some of us will find ourselves absolutely engrossed in while others will find little to nothing of import. I cannot tell you which side of the coin you find yourself on, but if lying in a darkened room with nothing to bother you, closing your eyes and letting music take you to another place sounds like something you're into, Encoffination has put together something you shouldn't miss out on. Just be prepared for the nightmares...
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