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Drawn And Quartered - Congregation and Pestilence

Drawn And Quartered
Congregation and Pestilence
by Justin Joseph at 16 August 2021, 9:39 PM

DRAWN AND QUARTERED unleash their 8th full length album and most recent, titled “Congregation and Pestilence”. Formed in 1992 under the moniker, PLAGUE BEARER, they changed their name in 1994 to what they are currently known as now, since then, these Seattle-based Death Metal titans have produced an extensive discography. Without getting into the actual album, you can assume one thing immediately, for a Death Metal outfit to exist in the 90’s until now, you know they bring with them that old school aura unearthed from the crypt of 90’s Death Metal scene…So how is the album? Let’s find out!

The production possesses a raw undertone to it, almost harking back to the Scott Burns era of Death Metal production, whereby each instrument stands out on its own, the guitars and percussive elements, each display their singular talents but at the same time construct a unison-like aura that the album brings forth to the listener. The sound here isn’t cocooned in a polished and clean exterior (even though nothing is wrong with tight precision production), but there are jagged edges to this sculptor, minor protrusions and cracks that may seem to be masked as a negative approach towards the album. Quite the contrary, these fractures within the marble, only enhances the visceral nature of the album and injects a dismal-like substance that flows through the fissures within the creation.

A positive highlight on “Congregation and Pestilence” is the melding of the vocals with the guitar and drum patterns. A usual Death Metal trope is where the aggression is matched in conjunction with the tempo of the riffs usually meandering and flowing to the pathway dug out by the vocal patterns. Here, they take 2 individual approaches, where the instrumentation exuberates a feeling of a chained, blood-lust beast, with hunger clinging to its belly, only to be freed from its restraints, it rampages its surroundings, mindlessly feasting upon flesh, ripping and tearing bones apart in a haphazard fashion, no calculated plan nor pattern, just uninhibited violence, this is the spirit that cloaks the notes emanating from each chord. This is exemplified in the opening track, “Death’s Disciple” (but not limited to this track alone), where the guitars and drums interlock to craft a sonic assault, the opening machine-gun sounding blast beats with the frantic, ceremonial style riffing, enhanced with the scattered pitch harmonics, reinforces the unhinged nature of the album. The amalgamation even though discordant in tone, the intensity is never forced, the track, “Oblivion Pilgrimage” embodies the harsh organic feeling, as the playing is rather reminiscent of MORBID ANGEL, as such the unification of the instruments emit a bestial air to it, as though, sound wise the album is trying to summon an ancient beast dwelling within its sepulcher, with each note taking a cryptic and ancient sound towards it.

The vocals is masked in a different skin, if the instrumentational portion of the album was a rabid beast, the vocals would be a gargantuous creature slowly lurking, slowly stalking, like a leviathan that dwells beneath the sea, with each slow movement causing severe calamity. It needs not worry about being the fastest for this behemoth is the apex that devours in magnitude to its size, so does the vocal patterns feel throughout the album. It seems to draw inspiration from greats such as Ross Dolan (IMMOLATION), in which the vocals are intense not because of speed of the delivery, but because of the heaviness of the low register utilized, where every note spewed can tremble an ocean and obliterate structures. The track, “Proliferation of Disease” showcases this, with the contrast between the rapid instruments versus the slow, heavily laden vocal delivery, again, you can strip the skin away from this specimen and examine each piece for its merits and stand out moments, however, it’s the structured formula used that compacts the different organs into one body, sews the incisions perfectly and its DRAWN AND QUARTERED to be praised for making these different parts work in a singular entity. While the majority of the album shares the juxtaposition between the vocals and instruments, the last track, “Congregation Pestilence” however shows a shift in this formula, instead the guitars and drums match the tone of the vocals with its lead like weight and dreary undertone, while not immensely slow in terms of the tempo, it deviates just enough to retain its ceremonial like qualities.

Overall, it’s a highly enjoyable album that I would recommend for Death Metal fans, new and old school alike, hell, I’d go as far as saying if you are into Death / Doom, you may want to check this one, while it’s by no means a complete Death-Doom package, I think there are some attributes to be enjoyed here. To anyone who may even be new to the realm of Extreme Metal, go ahead and give this one a whirl, this may be the album that opens up your appetite to other names in the world of Death Metal. An 8th album in my eyes, is an immense accomplishment to reach, to DRAWN AND QUATERED, may your roads lead to more intense albums like this along the way. Eternal Hails!

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Death’s Disciple
2. Age of Ignorance
3. Oblivion Pilgrimage
4. Proliferation of Disease
5. Dispensation (Rise of the Antichrist)
6. Six Devils (Trepanation)
7. Carnage Atrocity
8. Rotting Abomination (The Cleansing)
9. Congregation Pestilence
Kelly Kuciemba - Guitars
Herb Burke - Vocals, Bass
Simon Dorfman - Drums
Record Label: Krucyator Productions


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