Ov Sulfur - The Burden Ov Faith (Century Media)
Though far from any frozen fjords or deep forests, Las Vegas, Nevada, is not without its ample sphere of influence in the world of extreme music. Surrounded by debauchery, crooks, gluttons, and the occasional false prophet, perhaps Sin City is as good a place as any for rising stars Ov Sulfur to craft their debut full length album, The Burden Ov Faith.
Helmed by former Suffokate vocalist, Ricky Hoover, Hoover's own wide range of stylings is further combined with a variety of exciting guest appearances. If the horrific album artwork is not convincing enough, the sweet blasphemy of the lyrics and incredible instrumentation among the ten tracks will ensure this release goes down in metal history as a masterpiece of blackened deathcore.
Opening with no room for mercy or compromise, "Stained In Rot" is a maelstrom of aggression that is the musical version of Dante's often quoted line: 'Abandon all hope, ye who enter here". Tapping into the roots of metalcore, the forerunner to deathcore, Slaughter to Prevail vocalist Alex Terrible sits in for "Befouler", a track that harkens back to mid-2000's Killswitch Engage (spoiler: this band comes up again shortly) vibes.
Joined at the mic by the biting midrange barks of Taylor Barber from Left to Suffer, "Unraveling" introduces deep grooves under soaring synth work and dramatic orchestral strings. Flawlessly timing a pained plea over the fiercest of vocals, "Death Ov Circumstance" is not only one of the most varied songs of the album as far as instrumental work, but it is also a prime example of Hoover's natural singing abilities.
If one marvelous set of pipes is not enough, "Wide Open" features the iconic voice of the one and only Howard Jones (Light The Torch, formerly of Killswitch Engage). With their powers combined, this track is a treat for seasoned metalcore fans and deathcore fans alike.
And if, somehow by some cruel and twisted force, two powerhouses is still somehow lacking, the title track, which also serves as the album's closer, sees Hoover joined by the legendary Lindsay Schoolcraft (solo artist, Cradle of Filth alumnus) and deathcore heavyweight Kyle Medina (Bodysnatcher). A perfect marriage of gothic/black metal, melodic death metal, and metalcore, the album concludes in the most satisfying of ways.
The Metal Mayan review
Three words: Death. Ov. Circumstance. From the moment I first heard it on Sirius XM's Liquid Metal station, I just had to hear it again and again. It's at a point now where I have to listen to it at least once a day just to join Ricky Hoover in belting out "They watched them burn, they watched them die" in the later portion of the song.
While many fine bands have released a black metal - metal/deathcore hybrid album, not since The Breathing Process released In Waking: Divinity in 2007 have I been so excited for a record of this kind. The same magic I still feel with that album flows through me again with The Burden Ov Faith.
The appearance of so many great guest vocalists along with the band's stellar instrumentation is simply a complete package. I was especially pleased to hear Lindsay Schoolcraft's haunting voice in the title track.
As hard as it might be to convince a black metal elitist to try something that isn't 'kvlt' or 'grim', I challenge fans of Dimmu Borgir, Carach Angren and Cradle of Filth to give this album a chance.
Visit your local record store and pick up The Burden Ov Faith, out 24 March on Century Media. And catch Ov Sulfur on tour with Chelsea Grin, Carnifex, and Left to Suffer in April and May. Maybe Taylor Barber will sit in for a performance of "Unraveling"? One can hope!
Advanced copy courtesy of Breaking the Law PR and Century Media