Encoffination - _Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh_
(Selfmadegod, 2010)
by: Dan Lake (8 out of 10)
The Christians will tell you that faith in the Savior is sufficient to gain the reward of Heaven. Trust in the redeeming power of Jesus, they say, and He will save you from humanity's default destiny: damnation. Well, most will say that. The Catholics seem to think a person should go out among the suffering and do good deeds, as well, instead of just grinningly gripping the robe-tails of the righteously bearded one. Leave it to those incense-huffing Pope-worshippers to turn God into some kind of force for good and human progress. And so the debate rages, probably until the Christ returns or the aging sun engulfs our planet and makes the whole conversation moot.

The question for Encoffination is similar: is the triune dedication of faith, hope, and love for Disembowelment's early '90s output enough to usher _Ritual Ascension Beyond Flesh_ into the canon of metal rituals worth your time, soul, and shelf space? Yes. Oh, sweet sepulcher, yes; if there are any Protestant equivalents in the Satanist camp, they're right about this one. First of all, at only a couple EPs and a full-length, Disembowelment's back cat wasn't deep enough anyway. Second and most importantly, _Ascension_'s shifting rhythms and grotesque chord progressions grab your attention and never let go.

Encoffination keep all the buzzing riffs, cavernous vocals, and mid-to-lumbering drum crashes intact, and shroud everything with a muted, distant production that heightens the atmosphere and allows for impressively loud listening without ruining the ears. The songs never settle into one mode for too long, but lurch often from grimy crawl to wicked gallop to something uncomfortably in between. The song lengths also aid listenability, with every track (excepting the slightly longer "Coffinpsalms") wrapping in under six minutes. Less likely to be granted patience are the creepy film samples that tend to bookend the songs; they might have worked if their use was less predictable, but mostly they become tiresome by mid-album.

The pair of interlude tracks ("Procession" and... um, "Interlude") and tuneless, Asunder-like singing in the final minute of the album prove these guys carry more up their sleeves than the one trick on display through most of _Ascension_. Heck, they also got together this year as Father Befouled for a more aggressive and equally filthy death metal album. Yeah, that one's pretty great, too. The time for debating the band's worthiness is over. For now, and forever, just listen.

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/encoffination

(article published 6/2/2011)

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