Sunday, April 5, 2015

CONCERT REVIEW: Father Befouled, Encoffination, Ghoulgotha, Martyrvore

Venue: Saint Vitus Bar, Brooklyn NY
Date: April 4th, 2015 (Easter Saturday)

This was the last date of a 4 date mini-Tour for Ghoulgotha, Encoffination, and Father Befouled. Of note, Wayne Sarantopoulos is in all three bands and Justin Stubbs is in Encoffinaton and Father Befouled, so both artists did multiple-duty sets. Near as I can tell, these guys eat, sleep, breathe, and (esepcially) shit Heavy Metal. I highly recommend looking into just how many projects both are involved in, on both sides of the recording dials and artwork production paradigm.

Ok, so Martyrvore opened up the night. They are a blend of Beherit, Grotesque, Blasphemy, etc. In other words, the type of Black/Death Metal that seems to be very popular right now. Their stage show included lots of chains and nails, inverted cross and bone necklaces, and blood. Sonically, it is obvious that these guys love this type of music and are diehard fans themselves. When it comes to making their own music, however, I feel that they could use with some tightening in style. There were great moments in most songs, but the songs needed better arrangement, more stylistic consistency. Martyrvore can be quite a beast if they worked on developing their own sound/style a bit more. As such, they are a great opener and were fun to watch/hear.

Ghoulgotha was up next, and despite sound issues that plagued all of the bands (I'm leaning towards playing the sound tech at Saint Vitus; sound was compressed and not well leveled across the PA system. It wasn't horrible, and, admittedly, the magic of many of these bands is in the production/guitar tone, so even a slight deviation can significantly kill the eargasm. Whatever the case/blame, I am happy with the show and content with the sound). Ghoulgotha plays a unique blend of Death and Doom Metal in both the arrangements (which vary between demented, crushing, and melancholic) and the lyrics (beautiful and dark poetic thoughts on death and decay, really impressive). They release their 1st LP this year on Dark Descent Records (quite an awesome label, by the way, I highly recommend checking out their releases, especially in the Death Metal genre, not to mention that they have a well-stocked distro as well). Expect a review of this album shortly as I purchased it at the show.

Note the ticket stub, signed by Wayne and Justin! Wayne played guitar, sings (and writes lyrics) in this band, before relegating himself to the drum kit for the next two sets.
To name drop, I'd compare Ghoulgotha to (mostly early) Morgion, early Immolation, and diSEMBOWELMENT. They closed their set with a cover of Mythic's "Lament Configuration," a classic! Speaking with their other guitarist after the show, I learned that Dana Duffy herself came out to one of the shows on this tour and sold a Mythic shirt to him (the 2nd guitarist, not Wayne, who has a vintage Mythic shirt), one of only 33 copies!! Am I jealous? YOU BETCHA! On a personal note, I was quite pleased to see this band (and all the others) the day before Easter, essentially across the street from a Church. Also, the name 'Ghoulgotha' is so 'metal;' why leave an already cool name "Golgotha (place of the skulls)" when you can further pervert it into 'Ghoulgotha?' Excellent!

Moving onwards from Ghoulgotha (yes, oblique Incantation reference, this post needed at least one), Encoffination 'took stage' next. This basically meant Justin plugged in and Wayne moved to the drum kit. While it was totally excellent to see this band live (again), I recommend listening to Encoffination alone in a quiet, dark room for maximum effect. They are just guitar and drums with deep-as-the-abyss vocals. Very hypnotic and doomy, they rely on atmosphere to deliver their message. I must say it was impressive to see these two keep in time with each other as the music relies quite a bit on negative space; the playing out of distortion between notes.

After some pause to set-up the 2nd guitarist and bassist (as well as allow Wayne and Justin to rest) Father Befouled began their set. They still have elements of Encoffination, but are faster and more complex, drawing more on Incantation and Profanatica for influence. The performance was tight and heavy as a collapsing mausoleum.
There were probably not many more than 50 people at the show. Though I would have preferred a better turnout for three bands I enjoy and admire, especially on the last date of this special tour, I did enjoy the privacy of the event; it felt like an exclusive concert and everyone was there because they loved the artists too. Of course, of the attendees, a number were friends, significant others, merch managers, etc. for the bands. 

Unrelated to the bands, I scored an excellent copy of Undergang's (Finland) flexi single from their 2011 west coast tour from an outside vendor at the show. Now I can (almost) drown in (a complete set of) mucus (from this crusty Death/Doom band)!

*Review and photos copyright The Samnambulist, 2015*

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