SEMPITERNAL DUSK "Sempiternal Dusk"

ENCOFFINATION "III-Hear Me, O' Death (Sing Thou Wretched Choirs)"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Thinking about ending it all but just don't have enough nerve? Here's a couple of cheerful albums to help you on your way to the afterlife. If listening to the latest Electric Wizard wasn't enough of a miserably morbid downer, Encoffination and Sempiternal Dusk usher you into a moss-encrusted tomb with even greater dispatch.

Encoffination is on album #3 and these melancholy monks of death/doom continue to blaze new trails in painfully slow, noise-filled doom. Their formula is set in marble at this point and will not change for the foreseeable future (which is extremely bleak). The band's tortured dirges have evolved almost beyond the point where riffs are discernible. Long, long songs that slither and slide in the catacombs, with much the same feel and always the same sepulchral mumbling. You could really pick up any of the 3 Encoffination albums and get the same effect. I cannot recommend one more than another. The band is immune to criticism and can be recommended only to those who worship the slowest of the slow.

Sempiternal Dusk is a new name working the same general field, but not quite as draggy as Encoffination. The bands share not only the same sound but virtually the same cover. Is there any funeral doom album that DOESN'T feature a skull on the cover? These guys are "riffier" than Encoffination and therefore more listenable. I wouldn't call them a barrel of laughs....their songs are actually even longer and more drawn out. Think of the slowest parts of Incantation and Asphyx, with very little of the speed of those mighty bands. The murky black riffing is very repetitive but reaches that zone where a state of hypnotic enjoyment is found. Again, the songs are much the same, but I found "Upon the Gallows At Perihelion" to be an unholy beast of a death/doom song.

It seems absurd to talk of "enjoyment" when discussing music of this limited nature, but sometimes strength comes through misery. I preferred Sempiternal Dusk's funeral music myself, but either of these has the potential to send you diving headlong into night's endless abyss.