Encoffination - O' Hell, Shine in thy Whited Sepulchres (SELFMADEGOD - CD 2011)
I can sincerely say that the debut album from US mammoths Encoffination was one of the most earth shaking releases of past years. When I got it, I just didn't expect to hear such a fuckin heavy and damn slow piece of death doom metal. And so when Selfmadegod announced the release of the second CD, I didn't hesitate and ordered myself a copy straight away, although this time I already knew exactly what I can expect from this band. Another major factor that made me put an order so quickly was the must of buying the limited edition of the CD on black jewel with a t-shirt. Now I can say it’s one of the best looking releases ever, it presents amazing. That t-shirt already belongs to my favourites, with the skeletons and skulls and some lyrics printed with a golden paint, it is effective as hell. The black jewel of CD looks alike; with golden skull on the front it immediately brings a cold, mystic and sinister atmosphere. And the booklet... Well, the painting of (Spanish painter of the Baroque era) Juan de Veldes Leal's "Finis gloriae mundi" - "end of the glory of the world" – is thrilling. And so is the booklet, looking like an old book, with golden pages and many different pictures and lyrics inside. Definitely it is one of the best booklets I've ever seen (well, the one for "Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh" was also pretty cool!). So, for the visual aspect of "O' Hell, Shine in thy Whited Sepulchres" I give 10 out of 10.
If we speak about the music of Encoffination only, I must say that I have an impression it isn't for everyone. There will only be very few maniacs, who this music will fully devour, as its atmosphere is so creepy and the whole is played in such a slow and hypnotizing tempo that it will throw most of you away. Just imagine the slowest, most depressing and anti-joyful music ever, the marriage of sick doom riffing with death metal growlings and the most horrifying atmosphere. Something like that can't be a comfortable listening experience, I can assure you about that! Encoffination does everything to make sure that "O' Hell, Shine in thy Whited Sepulchres" will be your most traumatic voyage ever, so they don't even try to play some faster tunes or put some melodies or whatever. No, the whole is totally monotonous, slow paced, cryptic doom / death you can imagine.
Personally I would normally prefer to listen to some faster tunes, if they're in the vein of Swedish death metal, then better. There are not as many such albums like "O' Hell, Shine in thy Whited Sepulchres", which would hit my interest. But there's something unique and special about Encoffination. I let them drag me into this amazing, almost agonising atmosphere first, which is about the essence of death and rituals. Just read these words: "...O' Hell, Shine in thy Whited Sepulchres is a monument to the rites and process of human mortality. Death is the penultimate experience of the human condition. How we memorialize and commemorate our dead through rituals and ceremonies speaks volumes for and against our humanity". And by agonising, I really mean this word, as the music sounds like someone slowly have been torturing you, delivering the most excruciating pains and you've been choking in your own blood, fighting for the last breath. For the purely musical values, there's nothing really original here and definitely not entertaining. What's more, basically all songs sounds the same, the tempos are the same and so do the riffs and vocals also... So for that matter the album sounds terribly boring. But something what would be a negative aspect for most of the records, for "O' Hell, Shine in thy Whited Sepulchres" plays an important role in bonding all the ingredients together and creating one hell of a deathly ritual. I just can’t imagine Encoffination changing it all and destroying the whole atmosphere by addition of blast beats or whatever. This isn’t this kind of music. I also don’t think any comparisons would make sense as Encoffination is too slow for Incantation (although some resemblances are noticeable) and too deathly for the usual doom metal band. Doesn’t matter, they’re in their own league.
So, just play this album, smell the stench of dead and let the tomb close with you inside.
Final rate: 70 / 100