If you have been following the Trvefrykt Zine regularly, you know that I have been a big fan of Sentient Ruin Laboratories’ releases for years. Now with Dearth the label has once again delivered some horribly good content and with their debut To Crown All Befoulment they have released a nightmarish monster, which might be the hardest record of the label history so far. Turn off the lights, dive into the nightmare and get fucked up again.
The trio comes, how could it be different with this sound, from the American West Coast, more precisely from Oakland, California. The band, which has been active since 2017 and has only released one highly praised demo so far, is incidentally made up of members from Swamp Witch, Abstracter and Psychic Hit, which explains the outstanding quality that is offered here for a debut album.
Without further ado, Dearth get going and show with ultra-aggressive beating where the next half is going to go. You are literally pulled into a pitch-black swirl of various musical elements, which doesn’t let you go, but which you don’t want to escape either. For a Death Metal record To Crown All Befoulment has a very dense atmosphere in general, which is surely also due to the high Black Metal part, which you can feel especially in the blastparts and the oppressive guitar melodies.
But the drumming “shines“ here and swirls around incessantly without losing its clear line. Whether in the high-speed passages or the rare quiet parts, the drums sound brute and seemingly restlessly try to push the instrument one meter deeper into the ground. A refreshing counterpart is provided by the permanently tinny sounding cymbal, which rounds off the slightly dull blast and does not seem too monotonous in the long run.
Apart from the aforementioned absorbing melodies, you get a seemingly endless diversity of riffs and other crazy guitar sounds, which underline the aggressiveness and malice of the sound – but also the talent and ability of this band. Although you are confronted with a lot of abstract, dissonant and obscure guitar playing, you never lose the overview or the impression of being overdriven. The songwriting is absolutely well thought out and in really every single song it is managed to match instrumentals and vocals in a fitting way and to create a red thread through the dense, frightening setting that runs through the whole record. The tracks are partly unpredictable and can be listened to very often without losing the tension, because you can always stumble over new sounds you didn’t notice in the last run.
The final touch on To Crown All Befoulment is the likewise terrifying, but also like the fist on the eye fitting, change song, in which Dearth combine bestial roar with poisonous crusty nagging. The balance between the respective vocals is very well balanced and is occasionally overlaid to make the scenery look even more fucked up – which is definitely successful. The sound quality can also be heard and makes a massive impression on the individual parts as well as the overall picture and lets the diabolic sounds crash out of the system with an appropriate intensity.
Since June 19th, To Crown All Befoulment is, as already mentioned, available through Sentient Ruin Laboratories, where the limited red LP version is already sold out and the stock of the black vinyl and the cassette version is going to zero. So if you liked the record, you should not hesitate too long to order it.
With their debut album, Dearth definitely bring one of the best Death Metal albums of the year to the market, which has the potential to still cause a sensation in a few years time and be celebrated just like it was shortly after its release. To Crown All Befoulment is fascinatingly wicked, incredibly massive and teaches everyone who listens to it the sheer fear. Any of you who, like me, thought the current Black Curse album was the ultimate darkness, should definitely listen to this longplayer and reconsider your opinion. Highly recommended!
“Death Sown in Polluted Soil”