Churchburn          
Genocidal Rite 

The name Churchburn probably brings to mind the 90s black metal scene, but that’s not what you’re getting here, just to get it out of the way. Dave Suzuki of Vital Remains is the main man here, along with members and former members of other prominent acts such as Grief and Howl. Howlever (see what I did), this is still probably also not what you’d expect.

Death doom. There I said it. Overall, Genocidal Rite is the band’s third full length, but my introduction to them, and it’s a short one at only 32 minutes and 6 songs. This shouldn’t take long.

If you’re into the type of, let’s say exploratory doom of a band like Yob, look elsewhere. This is heavier, downtempo, knock your teeth in doom. Other than the brief intro and an interlude called “Unmendable,” there’s no let up here.

When the first real track, if you want to call it such, which is also the title track, “Genocidal Rite,” kicks in, you’re given immediate vocals and a harrowing, slow pummeling. This track is nearly 7 minutes and it doesn’t exactly sit still. There’s the low and slow you can expect from doom, some rapid-fire riffing, quick leads, and double bass, along with some subdued, quite moments. The atmosphere throughout, however, is dread.

That’s a theme which permeates the entire album. Heavy distortion, feral screams, and plodding, heavy riffs. “Swallowed By Dust,” which is the next track, follows this course perfectly, but there is a bit of a break for a minute in the latter half of the track before, of course, going back into the pummeling.

If you are looking to break up the proceedings a bit, the fourth track, which is essentially an interlude, called “Unmendable Absence,” should do that quite nicely.

It doesn’t last, though, as the final two tracks on the album, “Scarred,” and “Sin of Angels” respectively, keep this up. The latter is a bit of a standout, but mainly because the vocals are a little deeper than the rest that can be heard on the album. However, it still fits the rest of the album.

After all this, I have to say I’m a bit disappointed. I wanted more from this album, but it’s still not bad in any way at all. Being a fan of Vital Remains, my expectations may have been too high, so don’t let this be the ultimate judgment on the album (not that the good free-thinking readership at our beloved site would ever do such a thing) and give it a listen if any of this sounds good to you. Personally, I could use a little more variety and atmosphere next time.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
November 17th, 2021

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