TRIUMVIR FOUL – Onslaught to Seraphim (2022)REVIEW

The third and final pair of wings to be torn away from their backs were used to cover their eyes away from the horror of their final moments, a violent torrent of fluttering white quickly sprayed by the screams of blood coughing mouths. The shuttering of the light is made eternal by their deaths, transmigration into power as the newly reigning cult of shadow and darkness achieves decisive victory in their unholy wars. Their violence pulls the very atmosphere away from the celestial bodies, crashing it down upon their Portland, Oregon-based action as bestial death metal duo TRIUMVIR FOUL deliver what’ll have to be their unholy mayhemic terror trilogy rightfully completed. ‘Onslaught of Seraphim‘ is an apocalyptic dark fantasy beamed through corroded and grime corrupted lenses, refractions of blackest defenestration in depiction of a war fought and won against the kingdom of Heaven. Herein they champion those who’d ensure the decimation of all strictures set, and perpetuators of, Abrahamic religions with absolute priority. It is a fittingly unrighteous task for the murk-minded nihilistic pair who complete their substantial muse upon the abyss with this final fatalistic harass in-trance.

Anxietous disgust vomited from the throat-like halls of corrupting hatred since 2014, this cabal of dungeon bound black/death comes from the minds of R. and M., fellowes whom have collaborated extensively within the Vrasubatlat collective but the impetus of their cooperation seems to have been their working together in Ash Borer though there was a death metal project, Cerebrate, which formed roughly a year prior to those connections made. I was a fan of this project from the first demo, having picked up a tape after an Autopsy cover piqued my interest. I liked where they were coming from in terms of truly ugly, rotten death metal with cavernous blackened yet bestial aggression (see also: Archgoat, Teitanblood). I’d more-or-less roughly detailed my appreciation of their discography in my review of ‘Urine of Abomination‘ (2019) so I won’t go into great detail here beyond suggestion their debut LP (‘Triumvir Foul‘, 2015) was an exceptional point of development for that original sound which was heavy on the distorted bass guitar and leading with a groove-heavy, abusive sound which reeked of doomed death metal austerity and impossible darkness. Their second longplayer (‘Spiritual Bloodshed‘, 2017) reprised that sound for the most part, leaning into a more primitive and broken sandstorm in terms of production values and expanding some of their black metal interest very slightly. It’d been bigger, faster and heavier but also somewhat obscured due to the overall render. The sound they’d developed as their signature wasn’t unheard of, or really out of the ordinary within their stable but it was the most death metal centered band to come from the artists and one that’d stood out for having such a firm grasp upon the riff.

In hindsight, ‘Urine of Abomination‘ hasn’t held up very well on my part as I realize I haven’t once picked up the CD and given it a run since 2019. As much as I hate to admit it, this is because the production values are unsatisfying obstruction to start. It isn’t a thing I’m all that prone to care about but when I consider the virtues of ‘Triumvir Foul‘ and this new album (which heavily resembles that first release) despite its cleaner, readable render and Angelcorpse-esque approach to their inherent bestial black/death metal schism (see also: Azarath), I cannot help but strongly prefer this record over the previous mLP from the band. In fact ‘Onslaught of Seraphim‘ sounds downright murderous compared to the patiently growling cavernous haunt of each previous release from Triumvir Foul, this material sounding incensed and satisfyingly over the top in its disruptive performances. The wounded beast vocals which kick off the album (similar to “Labyrinthine – The Blood Serpent Unwinds” on the first album) immediately communicate the ruinous and enraged state of these folks before they begin to dive into what is arguably their most thrashing and aggressive release to date.

Feasting on angels… ’til dawn. — Despite ‘Onslaught of Seraphim‘ being the proposed final release from the duo Triumvir Foul do not show any loss of motivation or lax of the spirit when we consider the brutality on hand this time around. I am aware of how repetitive I’ve been with this statement thus far but I cannot emphasize enough what a brilliant paradigm shift this listening experience feels like in terms of the sheer attack of this record. But that isn’t to say there aren’t any of the ominous, slower doomed pieces (or, moments) on the way to the end as “Domini Befallen (to Doom)” concludes with a fading chill, foreshadowing the next two pieces which increasingly incorporate slower atmospheric sections which culminate in the sort of peaking glower of “Serpents’ Gnash for War”, my personal favorite piece on this record. A three act progression begins to form in mind at this point where we’re met with the fiery bestial aggression of the first three or so pieces, given peak immersion by a descent into doom and as the album ends these things begin to meld into the whammy-squealing ‘old school’ brutality this band tends to do best, “Infected Virtue” being the high point for my own taste.

There is something to be said for leaving a band’s history in a crystalline state, allowing a strong discography where each release can proudly speak for itself and the high standards of the artist. If there is any great success to come from Triumvir Foul, from the perspective of a fan, it is first and foremost that they’ve managed this bestial form of death metal with proper riffs and exaggerations of ‘old school’ tenets broken into an outrageous sound of their own. Beyond that it is easy to appreciate the consistency of their aesthetic between their artwork curation, blasphemous yet obscure lyrical themes, and overall distinctive render/production values. They have long been a notable “whole package” sort of band and this release serves as another fine example of their exceptional craftsmanship within a niche drowned by generations of its own obscure mediocrity. They still stand out and well, I guess above all else they’ve got riffs and thrilling enough performances to pull my attention into a place of fixation. A high recommendation.

High recommendation. (80/100)

Rating: 8 out of 10.
ARTIST:TRIUMVIR FOUL
TITLE:Onslaught to Seraphim
LABEL(S):Invictus Productions,
Vrasubatlat
RELEASE DATE:July 29th, 2022

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