Review: Churchburn ‘Genocidal Rite’
Are you pissed off all the time? Listen to this album. Are you a fan of blasphemy? Listen to this album. Do you like a guitar with a Spanish flair? Listen to this album. Churchburn have been making t-shirts to upset any theist, and music to match said t-shirts since 2014 with their debut The Awaiting Coffins. Their 2018 None Shall Live…The Hymns Of Misery was where I first took notice of their drugged-out and hate-fueled sound.
Self-proclaimed ‘masters of misery’ Dave Suzuki, also guitarist and drummer for Vital Remains, on guitar and vocals alongside Ray McCaffrey on drums (Sin Of Angels and Grief), form the backbone of Churchburn. In 2017 Timmy St. Amour, formerly of Howl, joined on guitar, and Derek Moniz finishes out the group on bass. Previously their releases were distributed through Armageddon Shop, Genocidal Rite marks their debut through Transition Loss Records.
Intro track Toll Of Annihilation pools in like a vapor setting an ominous tone, until mechanical dissonance and distorted vocals enter and drop off. We’re left with a lone church bell ringing four times. Startling Genocidal Rite then jolts me awake. It moves so slowly it takes my breath away on each listen. McCaffrey‘s drums, not following the speed of the guitars, go so fast it creates a very disorienting feeling. Suzuki’s disgusting vocals are completely devoid of any sort of coherence. Near the mid-point it feels like a circus act, where the freak show decided they’d do the acrobatics on their own terms, stunning all who watch.
Having lived in America’s heartland for two decades has made me very familiar with dust storms and Swallowed By Dust matches the feeling of being slowly strangled perfectly. The guitars are matching the drums for speed now, and the bass of Moniz is pushed to the forefront. It takes your breath away like a real dust storm. The number of drum sticks broken for this little ditty had to be in the hundreds. A guitar tone that can only be described as ‘glorious’ steps in every once in a while to hold your hand, until the distortion returns and burns the track down with its dominance.
Wretched vocals are spewed forth, like vomiting out personified hatred…
Oddly beautiful and somber Unmendable Absence is the aforementioned Spanish influenced track. It’s actually a gorgeous change of pace that manages to never sound fragile, or out of place. Scarred feels like putting your head through glass repeatedly. It’s more hateful and more focused. Suzuki’s vocals and guitar collide with Amour’s guitar and really cut like a knife. It ebbs and flows between sludge and pure hardcore with weird tones sprinkled in.
Finishing Genocidal Rite is Sin Of Angels, sounding like embers falling down a pit into complete disparity. Wretched vocals are spewed forth, like vomiting out personified hatred and dipping more into black metal territory. Time signatures mutate into something unfamiliar, and I’m sitting here with my jaw slacked until my cats nozzle me out of my stupor.
This was a fun listen. Being a huge Primitive Man fan, this definitely scratches an itch. It took several listens to really grab me, but once things started connecting, I was hooked and look forward to any future releases the band choose to grace us with. And aren’t you proud of me for not making a single Burzum joke?
Label: Translation Loss Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
Scribed by: Richard Murray