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Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum Award winner

Father Befouled
Crowned In Veneficum
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 15 March 2022, 4:41 AM

FATHER BEFOULED is a death metal band from Atlanta, Georgia.  They formed in 2006 and “Crowned In Veneficum” is their fifth full length album.  Since 2008, they have released a demo, five splits, three Eps, a compilation plus a live album.

Crowned In Veneficum,” is thirty six minutes of pure, unadulterated death metal. Going beyond even that description, I have to say this is truly dark and suffocating brutality.  I mean, this album is sick as fuck and four times as disgusting.  But that is what I like so much about it: total unapologetic attitude for what they are.  Simply put, this is death metal for death metal fans.  Assuming there is such a thing, a fare weather fan of death metal isn’t going to find anything to enjoy here.  Anyone who isn’t into the genre already isn’t going to be swayed.

If someone came up to me and said, “Justin, I have never heard death meal but want to try it out!” and I gave them this album…they would throw it at my face and never touch the genre again.  I don’t say that to mean that it’s so god awful that no one would want to hear—quite the opposite actually.  This album is such a hardcore representation of everything that makes death metal so great that only the devoted could ever appreciate it.  And I love that about this album.  It is death metal for the sake of death metal and I couldn’t be happier to hear it.

Too long, didn’t read?   It has Justin Stubbs from OCCULSED in it. And it is being released by Everlasting Spew Records, one of the few labels that can handle music this underground.  Need I say more?  I will anyway. The atmosphere of the album is straight up evil and there is no doubt as to how both chilling and disturbing it is.  The tone for the guitars and bass causes nail biting fits of trepidation, the drums are uncompromising as a monstrous beast that demolishes all in its path even while it holds up as a stark foundation to the very essence of the band.  And the production?  It’s the sweet spot found between being raw and having just enough clarity to bring out the heaviness of the instruments.  In spots, the vocals could be a little louder in the mix. And the lead guitar is too up front in the mix, over powering much when it comes blazing through.   Hey, I have to nit pick, it is my job. Small quibbles aside,  I could keep talking but I only have enough time in between head banging and annoying my wife with this music so I’m going to mention a few tracks before I go.

Unheavenly Catchesis,” begins the album with an immediate punch to the face.  The rhythm guitar and bass hammer these unholy riffs right out of the gate. In the two seconds it takes for the music  to briefly stop and let the death growls explode out, the drums shatter through and the band forges ahead. At this point, whiplash has already killed me but I must keep going.  The song has short but potent leads sprinkled throughout and they don’t sound out of place but rather just another element that is uncompromising in its efforts to kill.  The mid section is a slow, dirty dirge that wouldn’t sound out of place on a death/doom record and that is something I appreciate immensely.  They don’t stay in these putrid waters for long, as they end the song perhaps even faster than it began.

Dethroned Enslavement,” has just enough groove to pull the attention straight into the heart of the song, which is death growls burrowing through this other wise rock solid wall of death metal.  I think the band is at their best when they slow it down to a hard grind, such as around the 1:35 mark.  Not only are the riffs deadly but the solo is controlled chaos and hits the spot so well.

But right after that, the band releases themselves again like a caged album and I now think they are at their best doing, well, just about any damn thing. I’m excited to report that “His Throne Decayed,” is an instrumental that isn’t a waste of my time.  I couldn’t tell you how many albums I have reviewed over the year that have instrumentals that are just so short they go no where or are nothing more than interludes with bullshit noises that waste my time.  This one?  Just as good as the other tracks—the pacing and flow of this song is sinister as hell and sounds like death right on my heels.  Of Course, “Euphoria Of Accepted Suffering,” is what I just described as not liking so I guess you can’t win them all.

Enlightenment Of Torture,” is a whirlwind of destruction—with headphones on, it sounds like the music itself is caving in your head. A slow groove that reminds me of a death metal version of CROWBAR hits around the 2:00 mark and my head banged so and so low I could kiss my…uh, knees. The final track, “Utter Abomination,” is just that.  The slow, terrifying guitar is filthy and the bass rumbles all the way to my spine before that snaps completely off at the 2:26 mark when the song turns into an undead freight train.  Just when the song seems as if it will collapse under its own weight from the intensity, it slows down again.  Thankfully, the speed changed but there isn’t any relief to be found—dismal as a black hole.

All in all, FATHER BEFOULED’s “Crowned In Veneficum”  one of nightmarish, blasphemous fueled album and although it is still early in the year, this album has definitely set the bar high for death metal in 2022.  Everlasting Spew Records once again proves why they are among the best in underground music.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Unheavenly Catechesis
2. Salivating Faithlessness
3. Dethroned Enslavement
4. His Throne Decayed
5. Miasmas of Sodom
6. Katabatic Deliverance
7. Enlightenment of Torture
8. Euphoria of Accepted Suffering
9. Utter Abomination
Justin Stubbs – Vocals, Guitars, Synths
Derrik Goulding – Guitars
Rhys Spencer – Bass
Amos Rifkin - Drums
Record Label: Everlasting Spew Records


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