Encoffination: Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh

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Encoffination: Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh
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Encoffination: Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh
Death Metal, Doom Metal
Ritval Death Offerings, Selfmadegod Records (2010)
April, 2010
Release length: 35:58
Myspace
Originally released on cassette, Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh marks the debut full-length offering from the Texas based Death/Doom act Encoffination. While there are many bands out there that try to really push the whole concept of death and the ascension out of the body, it’s typically not all that stirring musically and leaves the listener feeling run down. However, Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh is not one of those types of releases, and, now that Selfmade God Records is reissuing this monster on CD, fans of literal soul crushing metal can finally obtain one of the style’s darkest, grimmest, and most impressive underground offerings 2010 has to offer.

Musically, there’s just about nothing that can describe this release other then the aforementioned term “soul crushing”. The band manages to blend in both the Death and Doom styles perfectly, focusing primarily on utilizing Death Metal to push the music along, but still captivating listeners with a very deep and grim sound that can only be described as a reflection of death itself, further pushing this atmosphere along by thrown in Doom moments that bring the music down to a “slam” pace, but without the traditional breakdown doing so. In addition, the band also includes random samples related to the obvious subject matter at hand that work nicely as segways between tracks, as if the music never really stops. “Procession” is a nice little audio clip that prepares the listener for the lyrical content nicely, as well as the overall atmosphere of the album, but as you go through this dismall release, nothing captivates the listener more then “Interlude”, simple church bells that play in a manner reflecting a funeral, with additional ambience thrown into the background to make it become more haunting to the point where the listener simply cannot turn away.

The production of Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh is, clearly, a rather raw quality. While many bands abuse this, thinking it will add greatly to the atmosphere of the release, for Encoffination, it does it’s job well. Aside that, the guitars are nice and deep, along with the bass, playing some fantastic Death Metal against echoed drums that add to the atmosphere with vocals that are low and suit the atmosphere with gutterals that sound nighbtmarish and are both low in volume, as well as low in the mix. All of this compliments each song, and each song goes into a slower Doom moment, which works out well, but mostly signifies the end of the song, appearing mostly near the final half of the song moreso then the first. However, this does not present any form of repetition thanks to how those moments are played, as well as the moments they are brought in, which flow perfectly with the music and don’t disrupt anything. “Nefarious Yet Elegant are the Bowels of Hell” may take a few moments to fully grasp and enjoy due to this, but it makes one of the finer tracks on the album with deep music that best reflects what the term Death Metal would be all about.

Aside “Nefarious Yet Elegant are the Bowels of Hell”, there’s plenty of other tracks on here that just sound grim and evil, and never let up. “Beyond the Grace of Flesh Go I” is prodominantly the Death Metal style outlined above, heavy and evil sounding from start to finish with a nice Funeral moment near the end where needed that makes the song just become more depressing to the spirit, picking up pace before closing with another audio clip that bleeds into “Entombment of Breathing Flesh”, which, again, is another fantastic track that essentially follows the same kind of musical pattern, but the Death Metal music being played here is the fastest played on the entire release, which slams right into another slower moment half way through, carrying one of the most sinister feelings on the entire track, mostly due to the deep gutterals that accompany this moment that come off as snakes hissing, enhancing the sound of desolation against darkness and emptiness.

There hasn’t been anything lost in the transition here between cassette and CD. The music sounds just a little crisper, yes, but it still sounds fantastic and retains that grim rawness that makes this release so special. If you haven’t picked up Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh during it’s first run, then now is the time to grab it without being worried about the restrictions of how you’ll hear it. It’s rare that a Death Metal release would actually capture a sound that could only be described as pure death, but in this case, Encoffination has done so, and it’s a fantastic work that you simply cannot afford to pass up.

01. Procession – 2:10
02. Nefarious Yet Elegant Are the Bowels of Hell – 4:56
03. Miasma of Rotten Serenity – 3:33
04. Eucharist of Bone and Flame – 3:42
05. Interlude – 2:07
06. Beyond the Grace of Flesh Go I – 6:02
07. Entombment of the Breathing Flesh – 5:08
08. Coffinpsalms – 8:20
Initial Pressing Score: 9/10

Encoffination
Encoffination

Digital review copy of this release provided by Selfmadegod Records.