It’s hard to describe how good it feels to come across some really, really good death metal that breaks apart the monotonous drivel that has polluted the genre over the last decade or so. We’ve seen artists and sub-genres come and go, full of imitators and tourists that hop on the next bandwagon. However, Californian natives Our Place of Worship is Silence have carved their names into the foreheads of all disbelievers with their brutish and enthralling debut, The Embodiment of Hate.
Formed in 2014, Our Place of Worship is Silence seamlessly fuse their death metal with shades of black – although the latter isn’t as prevalent as the former. I wouldn’t quite venture to label the band with the overused and exhausted “Blackened Death Metal” term that seems to be carelessly tossed around as of late, but there are subtle hints of black chromosomes interwoven into the death DNA that are obvious and undeniable, making this sound something different and new. Last year’s demo Demonstrations MMXV was a taste of the chaos that would soon follow, showcasing the elements that would become fully formed and realized on the full length release.
The Embodiment of Hate writhes and rips through 7 tracks of furious, cavernous barbarity, rising and swelling through passages of dissonance and, at times, surprising bursts of melody (hear closing track “Church of Atrocity”). The riffs are technical, but not overwhelming to the point that the compositions become unmemorable, weaving in and out of blast beats and pounding double bass. Guttural death metal growls give way to shrieking, black metal howls, adding a palpable sense of urgency and despair to an already abrasive environment.
Lyrically and thematically, The Embodiment… touches on points of nihilism and misanthropy, spreading toxic vitriol with tracks such as “Resplendent Misery,” a ripping barn-burner that showcases the band’s dynamic approach to genre bending and encapsulating frenzied chaos. “Murdered While Praying” opens with sounds from a firefight before being swallowed and consumed by an acidic amalgam of dissonant death riffage, followed by passages of blackened violence, something that the band has meticulously honed to a specific and deadly science. “To Deceive the Universe” and “Our Place of Worship” follow suit, shredding away with caustic and corrosive intensity. The Embodiment… closes with “Church of Atrocity” (a fitting and honorable tribute to the great Clandestine Blaze), channeling the mind of Mikko Aspa and utilizing it as a glimpse of what is to come in the future, rather than a book-end to an amazing piece of work. Atmospherically speaking, the entire album reeks of anguish and distress. It is a true exercise in desolation and depravity. In other words, this album fucking delivers on all levels with soul crushing, head banging severity.
The cover art was created by Sarah Sheil, who was able to accurately capture the album’s eerie and unearthly vibe. Additional artwork by Reuben Sawyer and the maniac Jef Whitehead, who also created the band’s logo.