Dead Congregation – Promulgation of the Fall (Martyrdoom Productions)Tuesday, 1st July 2014
You know what they say about those ‘-tion’ bands: when the name ends with ‘tion’, there’s brutality to be done. Well maybe no one says that per say, but perhaps they should. Dead Congregation’s long awaited second full-length album (and first since 2008) is basically ‘90s death metal revisited, with plenty of influence from Incantation and Immolation. So while most of the album roots itself in the past, thankfully the production does not bog us down in the same regards. Promulgation of the Fall uses crushing oppression to lure the listener into compliance. This is a truly top shelf production job for the type of material Dead Congregation play, and this sounds all the better for it.
Following the leads newer releases of the two “-tions” already mentioned, this is another case of straight-forward death metal, love it or loathe it, but always consistent. The album ping-pongs between heavy, doom-infused passages and more mid-tempo and faster segments of burly riffs. Tracks like “Serpentskin” have more than a passing nod to Incantation (even incorporating a number of harmonic squeals) but the dark and foreboding atmosphere that accompanies the brooding, slower segments of the song have an atmosphere all to their own. Mid-tempo moments like in “Nigredo” have a menacing grit to them that boasts some real power due to the solid production. Other songs like “Schisma” lean more towards Morbid Angel in their death metal aesthetic, pulling in some atmospheric and surprisingly melodic lead work amid the varied tempos.
The only real fault to Promulgation of the Fall is it’s overarching familiarity in its sound of the bands already mentioned. Their ability to construct a number of interesting and varied riffs within the framework provided raises them above the sheer volume of similar bands that feel more copycat than fresh. Vigor and enthusiasm for the material is always an extenuating factor with this type of record, and Dead Congregation brings it to the table with some to spare.