As quietly as this Seattle, Washingtonian ‘old school’ death/doom metal quintet dropped their nearly half-hour debut EP back in December of last year, Foul‘s righteous take on the sub-genre spoke loudly for itself. They, as an entity, appeared anonymous and devoid of hype or representation and just a plain download only drop online. I’d discovered this fantastic EP while digging through Bandcamp in December as I was compiling my ‘20 Underground Death Metal Albums You Missed in 2018‘ list and it wasn’t long before the venerable pulse-catchers at Caligari Records would license a quick-selling run of tapes. Now less than a week beyond the release of the compact disc version from Chaos Records it’d seem ‘Of Worms’ is set to sell out at a furious pace despite a full thousand run of the record. It makes sense, I put this on that ‘albums you missed’ list because it’d blown me away at the time and it still does today. Without any hyperbolic renderings needed to dress up the appeal of these four enormous death/doom tracks I can at confidently say that Foul are among the most promising prospects to birth from the impressive pacific northwest cellar-rotting death/doom metal scene.
Somewhere between the hollow earth-shaking doom of Cavurn and the shifty-eyed Cianide-esque gore pulse of Fetid, ‘Of Worms’ is as riff-intense and doomed to hell as any stellar band you could think of. As you become more familiar with this EP you’ll start to realize how special it is beyond the groaty old school belch and ultra-sludged guitar tonality. Much like Mortiferium and Ossuarium, Foul take that disgusting Disma-esque bludgeon of distortion and wrangle it into semi-melodic death/doom metal songs that reveal their value in waves of quick gushing lunges and slow-burning progressions. Desecresy and Rippikoulu are the most apt comparisons in terms of the older schools of mastery but Foul‘s style is not necessarily rooted in pure Finnish death metal style as an almost ‘Onward to Golgotha’ kick burns through their yellow-skinned hides during the EPs heavier moments. I’ll be damned if this isn’t one of the more exciting developments from the modern death/doom pantheon that feels extreme-as-hell as Foul thankfully looks to the oldest, filthiest savagery for inspiration.
As for the differences in the CD issue versus the tape, they’re pretty minor outside of modified cover art and coloration, opting out of the sickening yellow of the original digital release and cassette. Just by virtue of it being a compact disc I do think this is the finest sounding version but it’ll be a marginal difference as I don’t have a particularly good cassette setup versus CD player. Whichever version you land on I can highly recommend the experience. I’ve still gone back to this record despite having discovered it in December of last year and it has been well worth the spin every time since. For preview “Sorceress of Worms” is a major, major standout for its melodic interpretations and chasmic Desecresy-esque tonality, for some contrast I’d recommend “Feculent Unbirth” if you’re worried it’ll all be pure slow motion bellowing.
In the morgue when all is still. 4.0/5.0
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