By Craig Hayes. A band’s pedigree is no guarantee of success. I mean, there are a lot of ‘supergroups’ who’ve only ever released garbage, and plenty of musicians from underground bands have joined hands and subsequently released complete trash too. That said, every so often a band will hove into view and utterly destroy my pedigree is bunk theory.By Craig Hayes.
|Cover art by Sarah Sheil|
A band’s pedigree is no guarantee of success. I mean, there are a lot of ‘supergroups’ who’ve only ever released garbage, and plenty of musicians from underground bands have joined hands and subsequently released complete trash too. That said, every so often a band will hove into view and utterly destroy my pedigree is bunk theory. And Californian death metal band Our Place of Worship is Silence are a prime example of that.
Our Place of Worship is Silence features members who’ve also had roles in outstanding black metal bands like Lake of Blood and L'Acephale, and all that experience has clearly been put to excellent use because Our Place of Worship is Silence’s first full-length, The Embodiment of Hate, is an utterly ferocious debut. Tracks like “Resplendent Misery”, “Feast of Martyrdom”, and “To Deceive the Universe” have as much emotional negativity to feast upon as there is sonic nihilism to wallow in. And, as a whole, The Embodiment of Hate is filled with ultra-aggressive and pitiless songs, offering a ruthless and intense experience throughout.
Obviously, there’s also nothing special about ruthlessness or intensity per se. Plenty of bands release albums that feature a heavyweight mix of both. But what Our Place of Worship is Silence also adds, and what’s the key to The Embodiment of Hate’s success, is a real unhinged edge that brings elements of danger and chaos to proceedings.
Endless bands make powerful music, but few create tracks like “Murdered While Praying” or “Church of Atrocity”, which feel genuinely disturbing. Those are the hymns of madmen and berserkers, and they certainly highlight that The Embodiment of Hate has abundant maniacal death metal to offer. However, there are also strong traces of murkier black metal heard in passages of icier riffing, and in the mixing of guttural vocals with caustic, higher-pitched shrieks. That all adds a highly effective and often unnerving accent to proceedings. But Our Place of Worship is Silence also lurches and chugs with a brutally mechanical feel on occasion too. And The Embodiment of Hate features a ton of jagged riffing and ear-splitting dissonance to keep your nerves right on edge throughout.
Our Place of Worship is Silence mixes friendlier melodies into the mayhem, albeit in brief bursts, and what really defines The Embodiment of Hate best is its indefinability. The album’s cloaked in an atmosphere that’s as bleak as it is barbaric. And sure, musically, it shoves, pummels and batters like all twisted and toxic blackened death metal should. But it’s that underlying sense of unease about never really knowing what’s going to happen next that ensures Our Place of Worship is Silence don’t sound like they’re repeating a familiar formula on debut.
Realistically, most bands are very clear about their influences on their first album –– and there’s nothing wrong with that. Sometimes evolution takes time, if it’s going to happen at all. But right out of the box, Our Place of Worship is Silence sound beholden to none. I think that’s real pedigree in action. To me, The Embodiment of Hate sounds exactly like the work of skilled musicians who know exactly how to craft original sounds. It’s an album that cuts its own frenzied path through the weak-willed and passive, and it’s certainly a debut to be immensely proud of.
[Go to the Broken Limbs Recordings Bandcamp for vinyl/cassette versions of The Embodiment of Hate.]