Hailing from the dark woods of New England, alive with the folklore that made The Witch such a mentally terrifying film, Bog of the Infidel create music with a folk-influenced touch that would have been at home on the hand-crafted, wooden instruments of original Puritan weirdos that colonized this here country of ours. Although their 2010 full-length left plenty to be desired,. their 2013 EP To Corrupt Your Sons and Lust After Your Daughters was a huge step forward for the nihilistic black metal outfit. Now they return with an LP, Asleep in the Arms of Suicide, in that same vein of raw, first wave inspired black metal.
Though I am loathe to begin a review at the opening, Asleep in the Arms of Suicide, opens with a beautiful, folksy track to introduce the New England oriented thematic concepts of the record. Tracks like “Coils of the Noose,” “Eden” and “Congregation of Judas” are standouts on the LP for their upbeat pace and Providence-inspired take on black metal. Not surprising of course as the band was formed out of the ashes of two bands from Providence: Nefarious and Sorcery. Plenty of subtle crust and noise influences can be heard throughout.
For more of the classic New England black metal vibe, the album was recorded at Opal Studios in New Hampshire. Generally, the album is mixed and mastered in such a way that it actually does sound like it was recorded in the woods. There is a lack of reverb and chorus on the instruments making for a sort of muddle, forest sound bereft of echoes and reverberations. Further, the few acoustic interludes very much set the “New England forest” type of vibe.
Sure, there’s plenty of Dissection style influences. But thanks to unique production and a sort of subdued mix on the melodic guitar lines the entire thing comes off a bit more second wave black metal than it does Gothenburg melodic. Full of fury, the album ends on a burning hot note with “Black Awakening Nepenthe” which, despite the eleven minute run, might be the most cohesive composition of the bunch. Particularly the vocal arc as the track builds in intensity so does the layered vocals and the tortured screams from the more bass voice.