Vrasubatlat is a small label and collective based out of Portland, OR that has quietly been releasing some of the best music of it’s kind for those who seek to dive into the darkest that metal has to offer. Acts like Uskumgallu and Dagger Lust have made it into year end lists across numerous sites (including a shout out from yours truly), but the label’s flagship act has always been the powerhouse death metal of Triumvir Foul. The first band from the collective to release a full length through the label, Triumvir Foul took Vrasubatlat’s approach to crafting dark and unsettling music to new depths, and now they have returned once again with Spiritual Bloodshed, their second full length release, to spread their plague upon life once again.
Triumvir Foul have been a death metal force on the rise since 2014. Their initial demo, titled An Oath of Blood and Fire was a short offering of roaring old school death metal worship (including an Autopsy cover) that offered hints of the blackened death metal madness brought into full force on their self-titled debut full length the next year. Now Spiritual Bloodshed sees the band flesh out their sound even more by reintroducing thematic elements from their demo era material. Perhaps this change is due in part to the band’s roster returning to the original duo that wrote An Oath of Blood and Fire, but I feel like this is more importantly a band that is finding maturity through reconciling with their past. The difference in style between An Oath and their self-titled debut was marked, and it seemed like the band was set squarely in their new sound. Yet it appears that this time the band’s transition has allowed them to become even darker and sounding better than ever.
Tracks like “Serpentine Seed” and “Disemboweled Pneuma” pair together the whammy bar histrionics and stomping rhythms of old with the absolutely crushing atmosphere and blackened tinges of now, with additional elements of trudging doom metal ambiance to thicken the witch’s brew even further. The end result is something that embodies the anxiety and depravity that is the band’s mission statement. Coupled with lyrics that move from the mythological inspired depictions of darkness into exploring the depths of man’s own sinister nature and one can easily see that incorporating these past elements back into their sound is less of a step back and more a way to make their new form even stronger and more deadly than ever before.
Death metal in 2017 continues its upward trend in quality of releases, and at the forefront of this is Triumvir Foul. Topping their massively good self titled album was no easy feat, yet Spiritual Bloodshed is a new high point for the band as well as the Vrasubatlat collective, and will undoubtedly stand as some of the best death metal this year has to offer us.
Spiritual Bloodshed is available now digitally on Vrasubatlat in the US and Invictus Productions in Europe, and will be available on cassette, vinyl, and CD June 9th. For more information on Triumvir Foul visit their Metal Archives page.