Sunday, April 20, 2014

Profanatica - Putrescence of... (1990)

Profanatica was spawned after Paul Ledney split from Incantation. This American Black / Death Metal band retained a lot of the same spirit, musically, and took things just deeper into the flames of Hell. The band's first demo, Putrescence of... (later known as As Tears of Blood Stain the Altar of Christ), emerged from the fiery abyss in June 1990.

Decades ago, as with later on, the Profanatica sound was very much similar to that of Incantation. For anyone familiar with the latter, the main differences would have to be a bit more straightforward songwriting, at times, and of course the higher and raspier vocals. This vocal approach actually suited the music a lot better, and helped to convey a dark and evil feeling. Though this tape only contains two songs, it is certainly memorable and was probably one of the most sinister things to be released in the states that year. The compositions are very primitive and do not, at all, flow in the same way that Incantation's material did around that time. However, the somewhat sloppy playing only served to accentuate the rawness of the overall atmosphere and hearkened back to the First Wave bands. There does exist more variation than one might expect, with "Raping of Angels" featuring various riffs that blend Black, Death and Doom Metal into one rather epic piece of music. The same can be said of "Final Hour of Christ", which sounds like it may have had an influence on bands like Beherit and Archgoat, stylistically. The mixture of fast and chaotic sections with the more mid-paced parts, and even the hellish solo work, really brings those bands to mind.

The production is pretty good, considering that this is a demo from 1990. The sound is very raw and ugly, which suits the material perfectly. There are really no complaints with the mix, though it would not have hurt if the vocals had been a fraction higher. Nonetheless, the sound is good as it stands. The guitars have enough power to really convey the doomy parts well, while still possessing enough of an edge for the fast sections to saw through you.

Putrescence of... is a very powerful demo, albeit much too brief. Sometimes, it is a good thing to leave people wanting more, but there never was a real payoff to this. It took seventeen years before Profanatica would manage to release a full-length album, sadly. Though there were other demos, splits and an E.P. to their credit, this band sat back in the shadows for far too long while inferior acts took it upon themselves to make horrid music to ruin any chance that the states had in creating a respectable reputation in the Black Metal underground. Nevertheless, anyone into primitive Black Metal that actually conveys an evil vibe should seek this out.