The Burden Ov Faith

Century Media
rating icon 7 / 10

Track listing:

01. Stained In Rot
02. Befouler (feat. Alex Terrible)
03. Unraveling (feat. Taylor Barber)
04. Death Ov Circumstance
05. Earthen
06. A Path To Salvation?
07. I, Apostate
08. Wide Open (feat. Howard Jones)
09. The Inglorious Archetype
10. The Burden Ov Faith (feat. Kyle Medina & Lindsay Schoolcraft)

Much to the surprise (or disingenuous delight) of many metal media folk who roundly dismissed the genre 20 years ago, deathcore is firmly in the heavy spotlight right now. Perhaps even more pervasive is the dark, gothic allure of symphonic deathcore, wherein the beatdowns and blastbeats from that original, turn-of-the-century blueprint are aligned with the ornate, obsidian bombast of DIMMU BORGIR and CRADLE OF FILTH. It's a simple and not especially revolutionary formula, but one that is bringing the best out of this latest generation of bands. OV SULFUR follow in the footsteps of everyone from BLEEDING THROUGH and ABIGAIL WILLIAMS to WORM SHEPHERD and, inevitably, the now unstoppable LORNA SHORE: all bands that embraced darkness and blasphemy, while retaining unbreakable links to modern metal's hyper-precise violence. Led by ex-SUFFOKATE frontman Ricky Hoover, they have a polish and poise that belies their relative newness, and a mean streak that might just be their biggest asset.

By this point, we know how symphonic deathcore sounds. Fortunately, the (sub)genre is still at the stage where it hasn't been demeaned by overexposure and the flailing efforts of a thousand also-rans. CENTURY MEDIA have shrewdly deduced that OV SULFUR are a serious proposition, and "The Burden Ov Faith" sounds more polished, crafted and mature than many anticipated debuts turn out to be. The opening "Stained In Rot" ticks all the boxes, from its pitiless blastbeats and overlapping vocals, to the haunted house pomp of the background keys and the all-important, sledgehammer drop of a textbook breakdown. The production is crisp and shiny but raw and jagged enough to draw blood, and the vitriol that fuels it all threatens to spit from the speakers.

Elsewhere, OV SULFUR inject as much imaginative thinking into their easily defined sound as they can, and it's that pursuit of askance angles that elevates "The Burden Ov Faith" above the median deathcore average. With atypical grooves and a gripping sense of imminent chaos, "Unravelling" is deathcore as the soundtrack to some horrifying fever dream; "Death Ov Circumstance" revels in synths and strings and powers along with grim, industrial consistency; "I, Apostate" out-Cradles CRADLE with a deranged, vomiting-gargoyle's waltz; "Wide Open", featuring the inimitable Howard Jones (LIGHT THE TORCH),  is as righteously livid as MARDUK at full pelt, but blessed with an epic, melodic chorus that brings a touch of soul to an otherwise soulless screech of despair. The title track is the one moment where OV SULFUR hint at a more extravagant future. A drool-dripping feast of old-school horror synths, bloody grandeur and warped, wayward riffing, it nails the nefarious symphonic deathcore sound of now with conviction and a faint, flickering madness. LORNA SHORE's "Pain Remains" is still the benchmark, but the demonic cavalry are coming and their teeth are pretty sharp too.

Author: Dom Lawson
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