Ov Sulfur – The Burden ov Faith (Century Media)Monday, 27th March 2023
With deathcore hitting more of a ‘grown up’ period in the last year or so (with Lorna Shore’s Pain Remains being a bit of a benchmark), it’s not surprising that other bands have also been moving in that direction. Ov Sulfur have been dropping a few songs here and there since 2021, with The Burden ov Faith being their debut release. With the uber-kvlt spelling of “Ov” in both the band name and title, it’s quick to make the assumption that the release might be a ‘pile ov crap,’ but for those who are looking for deathcore to continue to spread it’s wings into more memorable and melodic territory, Ov Sulfur deliver all the goods that you crave.
As opposed to a recent standout like Viscera’s Carcinogenesis, Ov Sulfur don’t quite jettison the tenements of deathcore as a whole. Instead they sit comfortably in the more blackened end of it, as the opening moments of “Stained in Rot” quickly call to your attention. It kind of comes off as the standard deathcore faire as it switches between more speedy blackened sections and pummeling death metal riffing, not to mention that breakdowns will be par for the course. However, the switchover to a more melodic side, complete with pristine clean vocals does well to bring the band from out of the depths. It gives them an almost metalcore feel at times, particularly on the follow-up cut, “Befouler,” but it does help them to stick out in a shining and positive manner from the deathcore bands who are all too happy to simply copy the formula of those before them and lean into the ‘sick breakdowns, dude’ approach. The serene moments of a song like “Earthen” will leave you with some chills, laying the groundwork for the band to deliver an effective pummeling when the tempo kicks back in. The dynamic is not revolutionary, but there’s no denying that it works in great measures for Ov Sulfur.
Outside of the sheer contrast of brutal riffing and impressive melodies, the other potent part of The Burden ov Faith is its production. It all but begs to be played loudly and proudly, even on a more melodic cut like “Wide Open,” which boasts some expectedly potent vocal work from Howard Jones. A band like this should have a sound that shakes and rumbles with life, and Ov Sulfur have this in spades, thankfully without losing any ounce of venom. It’s caustic, but entirely listenable while keeping all of the meat on its bones.
An impressive debut that should hit a wider audience than just the deathcore crew due to it’s excellent mix of melody sprinkled into the brutality, it’s dynamics keep it more than the sum of it’s parts. Ov Sulfur, should they choose to continue expanding on what works here, should be able to really tap into their full potential with their next release. Consider The Burden ov Faith to be a very solid debut if you want something more elegant than just a primal beating when you go for deathcore.