For Dead Congregation to deny that they are influenced by Incantation in the way they punctuate phrases with harmonics would be disingenuous. For them to deny that Immolation play a role in the occasional groove that penetrates their music would be verging on dishonest. To even insinuate that Cannibal Corpse are referenced in the faster sections would probably send them into paroxysms of rage. But these aren’t necessarily demerits against the band. Dead Congregation are first among seconds, and were plying the dark death metal route as once laid by their New York progenitors long before the rash of blatant impersonators took hold. What’s more, they take pains to create something more than just a homage, presenting an incense-soaked experience that is in some ways mockingly rooted in the Eastern Orthodox traditions of their native Greece.
It is interesting to compare Dead Congregation with a band like Prosanctus Inferi. The latter approaches much the same ideas but from a more direct and technically intricate angle, stretching individual riffs to breaking point and making the delineation between lead and rhythm guitars virtually non existent. Dead Congregation, on the other hand, settle for more traditional, short form death metal rhythm arrangements but inject these with the most exquisite, exotically flavoured melodies. Other tropes in the band’s regular armoury include the use of feedback, and droning, tremolo-picked accompaniments that they employ like a black metal band to give passages an impression of weight. The music would most likely flounder without the aid of these embellishing elements since underlying riffs are all fairly same sounding. Fundamental songwriting has never been this band’s strong suit, but that being said, there is also a case for approaching Promulgation Of The Fall from an inverted perspective where lead breaks take precedence over the meat and potatoes fare of conventional metal.
The general veneer of Dead Congregation‘s sound is so familiar that one is tempted to dismiss the band as clones without adequate attention to detail. But look deeper and one sees that this may also be a reaction against the rumbling low-end that the band favours so much but one which unfortunately renders everything with a uniform texture. Theirs is an identity borrowed from old heroes, true, but also one forged with a deal of subtlety and restraint.