So, I slept on Bestial Hymns of Perversion. I was definitely aware of all the hype around it, and it wasn’t like I had anything against it, but I just never got a solid listen in. It should have been the highest priority for me, given that it’s everything I love about death metal, but it just never quite happened. Now I find myself scrambling to catch up to the hype train Of Feather and Bone are currently riding, because Sulphuric Disintegration is about to surpass everything they have done before this point. Don’t make the same mistake I did.
There are a lot of words that one could use to describe the brand of death metal Of Feather and Bone explore. Certainly “aggressive” or “brutal,” “unrelenting” and “unflinching,” “bestial” comes up a lot, but there really is no better way to describe it than to experience it. Especially on Sulphuric Disintegration, the band plays a ferocious, ultra-violent, murky brand of death metal that embraces the grime and girth of old-school pioneers while still keeping a few modern touches up their sleeves. Throughout the course of their latest, the Denver trio moves effortlessly through old school sludge to relentless grind, all while keeping a sound that is truly their own. The savagery that the band has made their hallmark is never lost, and each track manages to highlight different aspects of their sonic brutality, from riffs that hit like a ton of bricks to sickening, almost atonal melodies to writhing noise and guttural, bowel-churning growls. Tracks with titles like “Baptized in Boiling Phlegm” sound like exactly what you think they sound like. Rounding out the whole package is the warmer take on production this time, which the band employed to help keep their sound tighter and more focused. Trust, it’s still plenty dark and heavy, but that warmth helps everything cut through much better this time around. It’s much easier to pick out the individual pieces, while still retaining the murkiness that is inherent in the band’s sound.
If you’re looking for variety in your metal, this might not be the best record to come to for that. Sulphuric Disintegration excels at one thing primarily, and that is unadulterated aggression from start to finish. That being said, when I say “excel,” I mean it in the highest sense of the word. This is an extraordinary display of musicianship and all things that make death metal great, and fun. There’s a passion here that shines through, and it’s obvious that Of Feather and Bone had a blast putting this together, because it is a blast to listen to. “Regurgitated Communion” opens with a bang, launching into a churning dark mass of blast beats and wild guitars underneath gurgled growls and twisting lead lines. The old school vibe is heavily present, especially in the tone of the guitars and the vocals, which the stellar production only helps accentuate. The songs move at a blistering pace, and even in spots where things slow down ever so slightly, as in “Entropic Self Immolation,” there’s still a lot going on, but everything plays together very nicely. Nothing gets drowned out in the mix, and every scream, growl, grunt and pinch harmonic pops. What we have here is both textbook death metal in terms of hitting all the hallmarks of the style (riffs, growls, over-the-top grossness in the song titles) as well as something that pushes the boundaries of just how merciless the genre can be when those hallmarks are played with absolute precision and skill.
You all know how much I love death metal that gives me a physical reaction. There’s a time and a place for thinking in metal, and I love that too, but most of the time when I sit with a death metal album, I want it to make me feel stupid and nauseous. Sulphuric Disintegration accomplishes that and more, with killer riffs, writhing melodies and bowel-churning vocals, all with the perfect amount of gory flair that bridges the gap between old school worship and sleek modernism. You definitely don’t want to let this one pass you by. You’ll just have to catch up later, when their next album inevitably goes ever deeper and darker and more glorious.