Album Premiere: Father Befouled – Crowned in Veneficum
As the clergyman approached the king’s gilded throne, he felt the familiar flood of saliva building in his mouth. Why was it that he alone could smell the rot? The rest of the royal court continued with their preening, their blissful arrogance, but he feared his stomach would revolt upon the sovereign’s buckled shoes. How sickly the king looked: jaundiced eyes; wrinkles that housed a deeper darkness; peeling, tarnished gold atop his head.
With a shudder, the clergyman lifted the crown for its monthly polish. Beneath it, a cratered skull teemed with beetles that scurried to escape the light. “Don’t worry, dear priest,” he said, neck twisted at an obscene angle, “this is between me, you, and Him.” As the priest slumped unconscious to the floor, the court looked on in confusion. They looked to their ruler—strong, dignified, leonine—and he merely shrugged.
Father Befouled are no (Rosemary’s) babies when it comes to Christian horror; their devotion to inverting the cross began in 2008, and they’ve been on an unholy roll ever since. Their brand of OSDM drips with Pazuzu split pea soup—all moldering guitars and the ambience of an empty tomb. “Katabatic Deliverance” is a particularly fetid example, with riffing around the minute mark that calls to mind a corpse’s bloated stomach, moments away from an expulsion of putrescence.
Albums this murky can get lost in their own filth, but drummer Amos Rifkin’s deft cymbal work pierces through like bloodied thorns in tracks like “Miasmas of Sodom” (yum!). Nuance and variety go a long way with genres as storied as death metal, and moments like the lumbering doom of “His Throne Decayed,” and the spoken word of “Unheavenly Catechesis” help set them apart from the legions of bands worshipping at this desecrated altar. Now it’s time to sit back, crack open a warm can of ‘sblood, and enjoy this ossuary opus.
Crowned in Veneficum is out today on Everlasting Spew Records.