Label: Broken Limbs Recordings
This is the kind of metal album that should come with some kind of warning label. Unflinchingly punishing and crushingly heavy, The Embodiment Of Hate sees Californian band Our Place Of Worship Is Silence unleash 27 minutes of deathmetal that truly does justice to the album title. Taking music in to territories so unrelenting and devastating that they make most other death metal bands sound depressingly safe and tame, The Embodiment Of Hate is practically mandatory listening for all those who care about death metal as an art form; or simply for those who care about keeping up with the best in the genre.
Fittingly, The Embodiment Of Hate is not an easy or approachable listen. Possessed of a kind of avant-garde brutality that recalls Rites Of Thy Degringolade, with a dark murkiness that at times is reminiscent of Antediluvian, this truly is death metal for the elite. There are few riffs or movements that could be described as accessible, and even those who are used to death metal’s more extreme aspects will need a few listens to fully appreciate all that is happening on the record.
Not that it ever sounds a mess or unfocused, mind. Rather, there are many different, diverse elements at play at any one moment, seemingly pulling the song in different directions but all united by a common purpose and tone, even if it may not be readily apparent beyond “top-tier death metal”. Stop-start riffs, drums that unexpectedly increase in speed and aggression when they already seemed to be moving at maximum velocity, and bellowed, inhuman vocals all compete for attention. This is a head-spinning combination in its own right, but when songs like “To Deceive The Universe” then throw in dizzying, semi-melodic leads, the band truly show just how excellent they are. And when the band do let some melody come through, as with the black metal-esque main riff on closer “Church Of Atrocity”, it’s an unexpectedly disturbing thrill, as is the use of dual vocals on several tracks.
Crucially, as violent and depraved as it almost always is, The Embodiment Of Hate strikes that vital tone where such primitive emotions begin to feel somehow transcendent and enlightening, as if the truth of human future lies in our prehistoric past. In this sense, it’s tempting to compare it to the best war metal, which often reaches a similar state of primitive ascension; but I feel that describing The Embodiment Of Hate in this way slightly sells it short. War metal is often challenging from simply being so musically overwhelming, but this album has something more to it than that; ‘progression’ or ‘technicality; are the wrong words, but are the closest I can find to expressing how musically impressive the album is.
That the record impresses in such viscerally physically and also musically intelligent ways is of great credit to Our Place Of Worship Is Silence. As aggressive and belligerent as it may be, it’s hard to imagine The Embodiment Of Hate not finding a strong audience in the underground of fans who will understand and appreciate what the band are doing. This is a hugely impressive release, especially considering it is a debut, and is another remarkable release by Broken Limbs, who are challenging to become the underground metal label this year. Credit also the band and label for avoiding many of the cliched aesthetics of the sub-genre, and to Sarah Sheil for the stunning cover.
The Embodiment Of Hate is set for release on the 14th October 2016, and can be pre-ordered on digital, vinyl, and cassette via Bandcamp.