Sunday 31 August 2014

Bastard Feast - Osculum Infame (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 18/7/2014
Label: Season Of Mist

‘Osculum Infame’ CD/DD track listing:

1). Bloated City
2). Old Father
3). The Rats through Our Veins
4). The Serpent Spoke
5). Noose Of Smoke
6). A Tribute To What We Stole
7). Watchful Defiler
8). Claustrophobic Of This World
9). Fields Of Black Cancer
10). Synthetic Messiah


"Osculum Infame" or "The Shameful Kiss" was the supposed pledge of allegiance, which witches of both genders applied to the devil’s anus according to the perverted fantasies of sexually repressed monks and preachers during the bloody soot stained times of the witch hunts. This fits perfectly the kiss-my-ass-attitude BASTARD FEAST display on their sophomore full-length of the same name. And if you think, this is rude – just wait until you have listened to the album! Formerly known as ELITIST, BASTARD FEAST emerged on top of a new scene growing rapidly in the United States of America. Hailing from Portland, Oregon the quartet has its roots in the Hardcore scene. Yet under the influence of early Death Metal in the vein of MORBID ANGEL and a strong dose of Black Metal their sound shifted to something as fresh as radical. The crusty spirit of Sludgecore transparent in chaotic structures and moments of uncontrol was vomited upon the world with screams of anger and disgust by vocalist Joshua "Josh" Greene. This was met by the burning hatred of blazing guitars carrying the force of Death and darkness of Black Metal. Loud and passionate, ELITIST made the world pay attention; first with their self titled EP in the year 2009, then with a split 7" with TRANSIENT in 2011. Having shared stages with CARCASS, BLACK DAHLIA MURDER and ROTTEN SOUND and others, the Americans next unleashed the fury of their debut album "Fear in a Handful of Dust" (2011). Changing their moniker to BASTARD FEAST in order to avoid lengthy legal conflict, the band upped their game with "Osculum Infame". Be prepared for a brutal thrashing and lesson in devastation, which yet manages to balance out with a heavy dose of melancholy and passion capturing the essence of classic Metal. Burn in fire

The Band:

Taylor Robison | Guitar
Justin Yaquinto | Guitar
Joshua Greene | Vocals
Nickolis Parks | Drums
Jesse Apsy | Bass


Portland’s Bastard Feast might not be pushing boundaries or breaking down genre walls, but what they lack in ingenuity is more than made up for with power, conviction and grit. This is occasionally grindy hardcore with plenty of sludge to spare. In fact, it’s the slower, heavier moments where 'Osculum Infame' shines brightest.  There are plenty of bands that are painting with that semi-chaotic Converge style hardcore brush, but there are very few bands making the kind of disjointed grimy sludge racket that Bastard Feast has shown themselves capable of on this album.

The truth is Bastard Feast doesn’t even need the speedier moments. They’re absolutely enthralling when they’re methodically taking a sledgehammer to a pile of corpses, with each chug representing another bone-crushing blow to the dead. Every dissonant lead is a filthy blade jammed into the throat of lesser bands. They’re so gifted in the art of the squalid filth dirge; it’s a shame they speed up at all. “The Serpent Spoke” should be Bastard Feast’s blue print going forward. It’s positively overflowing with rage and misery, and there isn’t a d-beat or blast beat to be heard. That’s not to say that hardcore, d-beat or grind are inherently bad. Just the opposite; they’re vital to a big portion of the underground metal scene in 2014. Bastard Feast does that side of things well; they’re just a lot better when they focus in on driving mid-paced or nearly doom-paced material.

“Noose of Smoke” is a song where Bastard Feast makes the best of their speedier moments. A Dropdead-style swarm of distorted bass bursts into a barbaric blast beat that would feel at home on an early Incantation album. What makes this song work so well is the otherworldly guitar lead thrown over the top making the whole thing sound alien and uncomfortable in a wonderful way. Once things slow down, things fall apart beautifully, as every deep nasty chord feel like a fist to a vital organ. It’s one of the few moments where the d-beat and grind sides of ‘Osculum Infame’ live up to the higher caliber writing on the slower side.

On the whole, I’d say Bastard Feast show a ton of potential, and as it is ‘Osculum Infame’ is already a very good record. If they decide to further explore their more reserved tempos further on future albums; it’s almost a lock that they will putting out album of the year level material down the road. In the meantime; they’ve given you plenty to chew on with this current release.

Words by: Daniel Jackson

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