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Bereft - "Leichenhaus" (CD)

Bereft - "Leichenhaus" CD cover image

"Leichenhaus" track listing:

1. Corpse Flower (3:23)
2. Mentality of the Inanimate (6:17)
3. Withered Effloreescence (7:10)
4. The Coldest Orchestra (6:51)
5. A Cruel Mirage (5:43)
6. Ethereal Dispersal (8:19)
7. ...and You Are But a Thought (2:55)

Reviewed by on July 4, 2012

"A listener can get a very good idea of where Bereft’s inspiration is coming from...by checking out the back of the album insert, which reads 'Real music is birthed from pain, hatred, despair, suffering, and regret… and this is our bastard child.'"

Including members from the likes of Abysmal Dawn and The Faceless, Bereft (formerly Bewelderbeist) offers up a slow moving, but still incredibly heavy, trip down funeral doom lane with new album “Leichenhaus.” A potential listener can get a very good idea of where Bereft’s inspiration is coming from, and how the music is going to play out, by checking out the back of the album insert, which reads “Real music is birthed from pain, hatred, despair, suffering, and regret… and this is our bastard child.”

Although any metal head’s mileage is going to vary depending on their tolerance for aural torture, the average listener may want to skip the first two tracks, as the album starts with its worst foot forward. Between opening track “Corpse Flower” and follow-up “Mentality of the Inanimate,” there’s probably somewhere in the neighborhood of three solid minutes of relentless guitar feedback. It definitely goes from “mood enhancing” to “annoyingly mood destroying,” and these songs are exactly the reason why the fast forward button was invented (that’s right, it’s not just for porn!).

When the godawful screech of guitar reverb isn’t grating on for way longer than necessary, the songs instead explode with slow-tempo booming guitar sounds and a deep, impressive growl. While the bulk of the growling has a little bit of a Mikael Akerfeldt edge, overall the vocals are unique and work well with this style of sludgy, doomy metal. For a little change of pace there’s also some “cleaner,” although still incredibly harsh, yelling that adds another anti-melodic direction.

While sludge and funeral doom form the core of the album, each song also seems to take influences from slightly different styles for a well-rounded feel. There’s acoustic and atmospheric segments for a stoner rock or shoegaze feel, some hardcore leanings, and plenty of full-on death metal. The ending track expertly weaves a voiceover from a disturbing claymation cartoon wherein children get a lesson on the pointlessness of life from an angel named Satan. If you’ve see the clip before, then the music actually fits really well, and it seems strange in retrospect that a metal band hasn’t done this already.

“Leichenhaus” is a monstrous cacophony of sounds for fans of The Howling Void or any slow moving, massively heavy music in general. While unfortunately the album does tend to have specific sounds or riffs that repeat too many times or drag on for too long, it’s overall a crushing experience worth hearing.

Highs: Crushing funeral doom with a well rounded feel and a great voiceover segment at the end.

Lows: Grating, screeching guitar feedback shouldn't be considered a sound worth using.

Bottom line: A crushingly heavy sludge/funeral doom experiment with some interesting twists.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)