Death Fetishist

Album Title: 
Clandestine Sacrament
Release Date: 
Friday, October 28, 2016
Review Type: 

I’ve always been impressed by bands and projects that involve Matron Thorn: Crowhurst, Benighted In Sodom, Midwinter Storm, Andacht and, especially, mighty Ævangelist. And hurray, recently he started a new project, called Death Fetishist.

I’ve always been impressed by bands and projects that involve Grond Nefarious: Daemoniis Ad Noctum, Blut Der Nacht, Suspended By Hooks or Panzergod. And hurray, recently he started a new project, called Death Fetishist.

Indeed, both these guys joined forces under the moniker of Death Fetishist, and in early 2016 they released two digital EP’s, Whorifice and Lucifer Descending, self-released and available via their Bandcamp-page. Since Matron and Debemur Morti Productions (and now I just must: I’ve always been impressed by bands and projects that are involved with Debemur Morti Productions. And hurray, recently they signed a new project, called Death Fetishist – do I have to add a smiley right now? A horned one, evidently…) have been collaborating before, the latter quickly signed this new two-men army, and a first result is Clandestine Sacrament, the debut full length album under that Death Fetishist-banner. The album is an eight-tracker that lasts for fifty minutes, with both members taking care of the engineering (Nefarious), and mix + mastering (Matron Thorn) respectively.

And believe me if I say that I am impressed as from the introduction on. The Gifted Medium opens with some sounds of nature (rain and thunder – I know, it’s not original at all anymore, but it paints the right colours that will characterise this sonic spectacle for sure), eerie synth melodies and a narrative female voice (Julia Black being in charge). It’s like a storytelling, a spoken essay of some cosmic horror story, creepy and creeping with a subtlety almost undefinable. No, this opening piece is not like most intros, usually creating a thick wall of terrifying and grotesque bombast; on the contrary, the minimal, almost ‘beautiful’ approach is much more asphyxiating and ominous than any symphonic or orchestral aural prefix, and therefor already a highlight on its own! All Is Quiet Now… Really, is it?!

As from Astral Darkness, we know that nothing remains quiet, however! What we hear is something that surely reminds me of Matron Thorn’s sick yet ingenious mind. Hallucinoid riffs and melodies, harsh rhythms and guttural vocals filled with sulphur and acid are melted into a universe beyond human tolerance. The leads take you towards unknown dimensions, trespassing the borders of endurance and normality, while those grunts exhale a fury and a bleakness that might even scarify the Dead. Of course Ævangelist come to mind, but this material goes both ‘deeper’ and ‘further’: deeper into the Inner Eye, and further across the vast endlessness of the universe.

Voidtripper continues that path, yet with some subtle differences. The vocals, for example, are deadlier, but they are performed by Misðyrming’s D.G. Besides, this piece focuses more on brutality and heaviness, rather than the occult and suffocating aspect of the former one. Yet still, it does grab you intensively, believe me. Netherrealm comes with another vocalist, this time being Pyrrhon’s Doug Moore – though I have to admit that it is quite difficult to hear the difference in vocal angle, to be honest – but that aside… This piece is more hallucinatory than the former one, with a focus on melody and atmosphere at first, and a Lovecraftian occultism climbing up fiercely. Mind the fabulous drum patterns, dear listener! In a comparable vein continues Beauty From Wrechedness, exploring more of that almost untouched impurity, balancing in between dissonance and elegance. For the first time, I sort of undergo the comfortable ease called ‘recognition’, for the eclectic frenzy has been balanced, more than before, with what I dare to call ‘melody’ for sure – at least for the better part. Yeah, the finale is the opposite: like a pyroclastic eruption, devastating and overpowering everything on its way. The next track surely surprises me a lot. Verbrannt In Altem Morast is an instrumental intermezzo, co-performed by Bethlehem’s Jürgen Bartsch. It’s not a first co-operation in between Jürgen and Matron, by the way, for the latter had been a guest before for Bethlehem – but that’s irrelevant information right now. This instrumental piece is like a post-apocalyptic creation, both mesmerizing and scarifying, and in a certain sense even ‘beautiful’ in its abyssal obscurity. Once again a Lovecraftian atmosphere comes to mind, defining the essence of this project deeply and convincingly. It subtly introduces one of the harshest pieces on this album, Wreckage Of The Flesh (another track with vocals done by Doug Moore, by the way), creating such a morbid, blackened and bleak atmosphere. More than before, the discordance of riffs and rhythms suffocates, confuses, twists your mind, and the chainsaw’y riffing sardonically and masochistically rips your eardrums with a sardonic and masochistic pleasure. Did I mention sardonism and masochism? Upturneth The Chalice, finally, is like a summary. This very lengthy composition (12:35) combines all aspects that characterise the album, and still it goes further. It’s a very varying composition, suggestive, claustrophobic and uncompromising, with so many levels yet to explore. The horrific atmosphere never fades away, and despite the length, this track – and this goes for every single piece on Clandestine Sacrament – I am pleasured by a permanent arousing attraction. Toward the end, a mostly eerie grand finale shows up, combining those haunting female voices once again (Julia Black), combined with eerie synths performed by no one else but Gnaw Their Tongues / Seirom / De Magia Veterum / Aderlating / Cloak Of Altering / …’s Mories.

The sound quality – I have to mention it – is totally appropriate to this stuff: raw, rusty, unpolished, chaotic. It fits, it truly does. Especially the mix pleases me, though I might crave for a little, tiny little, very little tiny little extra decency (I was about to add ‘decadence’ – I wonder why???). Occasionally, the overload on sounds and sonic elements might work confusing (on purpose?) for it lacks of integrity and balance, but then again, this isn’t but a little, tiny little, very little tiny little detail. Overall, I prefer this kind of rawness above a clinical production (evidently!!!), for it strengthens the ugliness of the spirit behind the concept.