Typically, heavy metal album art is there to grab the eye and make you wonder what’s contained in the music that lies within. That’s one of the most obvious things I’ve ever said on this site, but hold on. I promise I’m going somewhere. You would think most art would be an invitation into something—Cannibal Corpse art aside—but what happens when a cover has the opposite effect?
I ask because the cover of Sulphurous’ thunderous second record “The Black Mouth of Supulchre” contains a cover, the record’s doorway, if you will, that makes me never, ever want to visit the place it’s depicting. It’s a scene that reeks of “fuck this shit, I’m going a different direction,” and the band’s morbid brand of death metal only amplifies those feelings. All of this is a positive, in case you’re confused, because these six tracks that spread over 37 minutes contain horror you practically can taste and a fear that builds up in your mind. The band—M.F. (guitars, vocals, piano), M.C. (bass), T. (drums)—creates a terrifying ambiance and music to match that douses you in soot and darkness as you crawl on your hands and knees hellbent to avoid whatever that is on the cover. It’s hell. It has to be.
“Emanated Trepidation” starts the record on a morbid note, mauling and opening wounds, testing with its furious pace. The drums bring further devastation as the humidity thickens, the growls maul, and the leads stretch their wings and blacken with shadow. The growls devastate as the guitars amplify their stranglehold, dealing some final thrashy burns. “Dry Breath of the Tomb” starts basking in doom as the center is sliced open, and gnarly growls begin to land blows. The band then starts to clobber you as the leads heat up, and the pace seemingly aims to rub your face in cinders. Things get faster, the drums smash, and a final assault ends the display in flames. “Shadows Writhing Like Black Wings” starts in a fog that has keys dripping and the sense of dread intensifying. The track then shows its teeth and increases the attack, the riffs breed melodies, and the playing seemingly glows as it moves out of the sunlight. Emotion increases as the intensity boils, and that lets off penetrating steam.
“Eyes Glaring Black Fury” situates itself in doomy blackness as monstrous vocals explode out of corners, and a brutal fury lands and spits rock and soil into unsuspecting mouths. Things feel sinister and volatile as the growls crush, the drumming opens holes in the ground, and everything funnels into the dark, shrouded in mystery. The title track enters amid gushing guitars and a chugging pace as the band keeps mercilessly pounding away. It feels like you’re taking heavy gashes to your sides as the playing gets increasingly monstrous, gargantuan growls smother, and the track blasts out into the atmosphere. “Gazing Into the Patch of Darkness” is the final track, and it feels like it’s going right for your head from the start. The track is just hulking as it gets its footing with the guitars spiraling and spindling, and chaos makes itself the heart of the whole thing. The guitars eventually tidal wave as melodies stretch, the tempo powders bones, and everything suddenly fades into the air, leaving burns behind.
If at the end of Sulphurous’ “The Black Mouth of Sepulchre” you don’t feel shaken by cosmic horror, you’re either not easily disturbed or a total fucking liar. This is a devastating dose of death metal mixed with doomy synthesis, and its dalliances with terror beyond what the mind can comprehend adds even more heaviness and uncomfortable feelings. This is a smasher of a record that is not designed to recognize compassion and only works to amplify your worst fears. Mine is that cover.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100048470091245
To buy the album, go here: http://www.darkdescentrecords.com/store/
For more on the label, go here: https://www.darkdescentrecords.com/
And here: https://www.mesacounojo.com/
And here: https://desiccatedproductions.com/