Dead Congregation – Purifying Consecrated Ground (2005)

dead congregation purifying consecrated ground

Modern death metal is a cesspool. Riffless atonal texture and rehashed generic riffs combine into a poppy carnival of random boring bullshit to feed the typical underground record label ponzi scheme. Rare was the new release anything worth the attention of any older fans even over a decade ago in 2005. Coming years after their heroes in Morbid Angel, Incantation, and Immolation stopped releasing worthy or even interesting material (but before they went “radikult”), Dead Congregation’s debut EP, Purifying Consecrated Ground, showed a powerful potential that awed many into submission.

Purifying Consecrated Ground surged forth with an urgency that hadn’t been heard in years on the introductory track “Vomitchrist”. Furious counter-pointed riffing in the style of early Immolation meeting the tremolo-picked leads of black metal brought listeners to their knees before any could stop to think about Dead Congregation’s songwriting. The percussive pounding leading the death march seems to have bashed in most hesher’s brains. Repeated listening reveals “Vomitchrist” be merely a well-done, verse-chorus-verse, riff salad song. Being less than three minutes long the song doesn’t overstay its welcome despite the repetitiveness of this standard speed metal song format but lack of melodic structure betrays the inherent flaws of the band.

Dead Congregation’s riffing isn’t weak contrary to the opinion of many commentators. The verse rhythm guitar riffs have extended phrasing with numerous variations both clever and boneheaded despite being jammed together into tossed riff salad songs most of the time. Many resemble first wave black metal riffs in death metal songs with drastic tempo shifts, i.e. Incantation. However Dead Congregation’s drummer does not drum in service to riffs nor shifts tempo in accordance with riffs varying in long-form melodies as seen in Norwegian black metal (without major tempo changes), At the Gates, Morbid Angel, and Jim Roe’s own work in Incantation. Rather Dead Congregation’s drummer sounds like was picked at random from a Unique Leader Records police lineup from the late nineties. He frequently threatens to go off the rails into his own technical brutal death metal fantasy world where wife beaters and camouflage cargo replaced black t-shirts, jeans, and leather jackets as Hessian uniforms. Purifying Consecrated Ground makes listeners long for the cyclical narrative songwriting of Deeds of Flesh.

The cargo cult imitation of Incantation’s songwriting prevented Dead Congregation from ascending to the Olympian peaks of their forefathers on Purifying Consecrated Ground . The band needlessly brought their death/speed metal compositions to a halt and perished on the mountain’s slopes with doomy introductions, bridges, and codas that lost listeners’ attention. Good ideas such as the lead around thirty seconds into “Downward Spiral Of Morbidity” were frequently left undeveloped and discarded for sake of atmosphere. The cause of death may have been due to the lack of musical knowledge and proficiency between the two guitarists as seen in the Kerry King style solos. Among the many methods of improvement Dead Congregation could take to stand out from the could’ve, would’ve, should’ve of the early nineties would be to ascertain how and why Onward to Golgotha ebbs and flows both melodically and rhythmically, actually uniting their riffs into flowing long-form neo-classical narratives rather than rock songs, or using the doomier verses to ground the music in unique atmosphere. Dead Congregation would opt for the latter, quick and easy way on their first LP, Grave of the Archangels.

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26 thoughts on “Dead Congregation – Purifying Consecrated Ground (2005)”

  1. Panos says:

    For some reason the never were my cup of tea. Last “modern” death metal album I enjoyed was Morfin’s “Inoculation”.

  2. McDonald's AIDS says:

    I would argue that this band at their best don’t even achieve what the best moments on Formulas Fatal to the Flesh, Unholy Cult, and The Infernal Storm could. Not saying any of those are good either. Dead Congregation overall is at the new Vader level of quality (being lenient).

    1. Nineties Vader was better than them. More proficient guitarists and better ideas. Hump Slayer’s legs!

  3. Thou Art Lord is as you may know a black metal band with some of the most famous “stars” of the Greek metal scene, and you can see that with their two main members like Sakis the vocalist of Rotting Christ and Magus the vocalist of Necromantia.

    Now the review: Orgia Daemonicum is the latest effort from the Greek black metal kings, widely known for their main bands. This album shows that there is still plenty of good metal out there, and that the scene still alive. One of the most interesting things about this album is the sound quality. It’s raw but at the same time it manages to sound clear, and the listener won’t have problems because every instrument can be heard.

    Another interesting thing about this album are the lyrics. The lyrics are written in a Satanist way (Which is good) and sometimes it makes the listener feel like they’re in the middle of a ritual calling for Lucifer, like in the song “Royal Invocation of Apophis”. The guitar work is outstanding and these guys never seem to run out of riffs and it’s also needless to say that these riffs are catchy as hell. The drumming in this album is totally kick ass.

    Akis did a wonderful job on the drums. Every song is well played, and it’s not only blast beats like many black metal bands do most of the time. Last but not least is the cover of Onslaught’s Power from Hell; this is the kind of cover that in my opinion metal bands should be doing covering some awful pop bands.

  4. Poser Patrol says:

    At least this EP doesn’t have as many cutesy chugs to tie up the ends of phrases like on Graves of the Archangels.

    1. Or as much pinch harmonic abuse.

  5. Vigilance says:

    The flaw of this band is that their music is not legendary. When I listen to their records I do not get the sense that the music within could have ONLY come from THIS band.

    1. Ara says:

      That’s the main thing I see in pretty much every band for the last 2 decades. Bands can perhaps cobble together different genres in attempts to sound unique but no one has an individual approach to melody anymore.

      1. Ara says:

        What’s more is that if you don’t have an individual approach to melody, you don’t have an artistic voice, and you don’t have the creative drive necessary to make musical art.

        1. C.M. says:

          Did you check out that Innumerable Forms demo? It’s pretty derivative in terms of riff and rhtyhm selections but it is vert moving and intense anyway. The originality of a melody is not nearly as important as how effectively it motivates the listener, don’t you think?

          1. C.M. says:

            *rhythm, very.

            Sorry for the typos… my phone is drunk.

            1. Ara says:

              I did, I loved it actually- I was still able to “hear” the author in those compositions though. “Derivative” is a bit of an elastic term- the Innumerable Forms guy may have utilized common scales but it’s how he used them that speaks for individual voice.

              1. C.M. says:

                Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. Not that I necessarily disagree with your take on DC, just wanted to make sure you weren’t dismissing them offhand because their riffs appeared to lack originality.

        2. Like your band, Ara!

        3. David Rosales says:

          Interesting way of condensing a very complex issue.

  6. OliveFox says:

    The best thing about DC is that whenever I start listening to them, I remember that I can just turn it off and listen to INCANTATION.

    Though, you certainly could do worse. A good band to throw on during parties to stimulate discussion on why certain bands have the right motives, proficiency and ingredients for great metal…yet somehow fall just short.

    1. Vigilance says:

      > Parties
      > discussion on why certain bands have the right motives, proficiency and ingredients for great metal.

      Pick one familia

      1. Ludvig Boysen says:

        This man must have very pleasant friends, if he can do that at a party

      2. OliveFox says:

        Come on you anti-social neck beards! Quit your gross computer programming job and live a little. No one else has metal/music parties? Lighten up and clink glasses with some friends every now and again. Just start with the premise that music is the central component of the party, and tell anyone that fucks with that to scram.

        I have a particularly spacious house, far away from any neighbors, and a very large, very cool family. So, get the siblings to bring some friends, get the guys you used to PLAY metal with, get the old lady to bring her hot co-workers over and you have yourself a party. Everyone is typically married with kids so their is hardly any of the tension of everybody trying to fuck one another, so, yes, shockingly reasonable and interesting people. And since I own the house, own all the music, and own all the music equipment, it is pretty much all death metal all the time.

        And when the majority of people at a party love death metal…typically, you always end up talking about Death Metal. Natch. Just like a metal forum on the internet…except with, ya know, real humans: “Dude, Cannibal Corpse is shit, let’s listen to Covenant to cure you,” “Bathory is a better band, but Celtic Frost had 2 better albums than anybody!” “What do you mean you don’t like Therion? No, no, not that opera stuff, THIS Therion!”

        I’ve been doing it for years, so, there is hardly a question as to what people expect. Geezus, find yourself some more interesting friends and learn the proper way to host a social gathering.

        1. Ludvig Boysen says:

          “Come on you anti-social neck beards! Quit your gross computer programming job and live a little. No one else has metal/music parties? Lighten up and clink glasses with some friends every now and again. Just start with the premise that music is the central component of the party, and tell anyone that fucks with that to scram.”

          I would do that, if I had friends who listen to music.
          I occasionally do it with my father. That’s about it. It’s not much of a party.

          1. OliveFox says:

            My Dad is my favorite to listen to metal with. He was into old 70s prog stuff, so death metal isn’t that weird to him, but I can tell he doesn’t like it, he just pretends he does when my brothers, sisters and I are around. His descriptions like, “dense” and “far out” make me smile.

            1. David Rosales says:

              Get him to listen to The Red in the Sky is Ours

        2. Ludvig Boysen says:

          Fuck, that sounds like so much fun that I’d show up uninvited and claim that someone knows me and invited me.

  7. Can you survive the blitzkrieg says:

    I like how anyone who says they like this band are quick to go “buuuut it’s not actually good or anything”, fucking worms.

    1. Poser Patrol says:

      The punishment for transgression against Lord Brett and Reichsführer Rosales is not to be taken lightly.

      1. David Rosales says:

        Hey, I like the sound of that!

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