Churchburn use personal loss as fuel to agitate creative fires on devastating ‘Genocidal Rite’

Photo by Mike St Onge

Sometimes death metal is about actual death, and that’s the most obvious thing I may ever have written, but maybe it isn’t? Yes, death metal obviously largely is obsessed with death as a concept, but sometimes real life gets in the way and becomes fuel for creating one of the most aggressive forms of art on the planet. Catharsis is a good thing.

We haven’t heard from Churchburn in three years now, which is totally normal for most bands, but think about what the past 36 or so months have meant. For death metal lifer Dave Suzuki (formerly of Vital Remains and a former live member of Deicide) vocalist/guitarist for Churchburn, life has been harrowing lately, which it is for many of us, but most of us don’t have an outlet like this to unleash our torment. Having lost a close family member in 2020, Suzuki set off to create “Genocidal Rite,” the band’s third record and a crushing blow that equates what he felt with the music he wanted to create. With the rest of the band in tow—guitarist Timmy St. Amour, bassist/vocalist Derek Moniz, drummer Ray McCaffrey—the sorrow, anger, guilt, and pain are wrapped into these six songs that are absolutely crushing both musically and lyrically.

“Toll of Annihilation” is a quick intro track that simmers in vibrating noises and agitation slowly building, with the doom bells tolling and paving the way for the title track that mauls right away. The vocals feel like they’re trying to carve flesh from you with a cheese slicer as doomy dripping makes things uglier, and the pressure mounts for the death surge to get meaner. The guitars soar as the gloom thickens, relentless fury rises, and the final tortured wails swim amid sticky grime. “Swallowed by Dust” brings guitars carving into rock and then the playing bursting from the chest, spurting blood. The nastiness levels increase dangerously as the cloud cover darkens and hangs overhead, and burly trudging makes your footing even less secure. Ungodly bashing takes things to new levels of pain, fiery growls mangle, and the final moments smash and leave you disoriented.

“Unmendable Absence” is an instrumental piece with plucked guitar, strange whirring, and heavy fog increasing the somber mood, and then we’re into “Scarred” that opens with the drums destroying everything in sight and savage vocals scorching your flesh. The heaviness feels like it’s aiming to cave in your chest while some classical-style guitars emerge and add a different texture to this ongoing war. The screams punish and melodies soar, aggressive pounding makes a final stand, and the track ends in complete and utter chaos. “Sin of Angels,” which features Incantation legend John McEntee, has industrial exhaust at the front followed by death metal might that melts steel, and a raspy, hellish serving of growls with only the worst of intentions. This thing is beastly and murderous, a total death metal burial that weighs down hard with sinister intent as the track ends in strange winds.

Churchburn bring veteran death metal smarts with playing that weighs you down with slower-moving heaviness on “Genocidal Rite.” Suzuki has been through the wars, and those scars and still-bloody wounds go a long way toward making this record as destructive and intense as it is. The harrowing life experiences that informed these songs, and the era in which we’re locked make this album one that could live alongside your own tumultuous existence and perhaps help you release some of that pent-up aggression that’s living in the center of you.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/CHURCHBURNDOOM

To buy the album, go here: https://orcd.co/genocidalrite

For more on the label, go here: https://translationloss.com/

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