Thy Feeble Saviour – And Darkness Fell (2018)

Texan death metal represents the most uncompromising face of the genre today. Dark, gritty, and relentlessly confrontational, this is not music for those perpetually seeking new thrills or those satisfied with shapelessness masquerading as innovation. Rather, a band like Thy Feeble Saviour chooses a small palette of tones influenced by Incantation, Profanatica/Havohej, and Imprecation, but within that restricted range develops themes more expansively and expressively than heard in bands with a more explicitly progressive agenda. Far too often, mood and impression are elevated above structure, but for metal to be metal, mood always has to arise from structure. Texan bands over time have grasped this subtle balance, that composition has to achieve complete primacy when note choices are viewed with extreme asceticism, not to bolster some mealy-mouthed claim to minimalism, but to serve with tunnel vision the higher ideal of violent death metal. 

Those that don’t understand this higher ideal will be liable to mock it, scoff at it, and move on to something else, but for the rest of us, Thy Feeble Saviour‘s style of death metal mirrors a very peculiar psychological constitution we find in ourselves. In its presence, we feel safe, even obliged on behalf of sacred duty, to shed the skin of pretense we otherwise wear in daily life, and to present ourselves as we are, naked and unrestrained. Convictions become even more sharply defined to the point where we could almost kill or die on their account. It is a psychic transformation, berzerker-like in its ferocity, that I have experienced on many an occasion, and I always marvel, and not without a little trepidation, at its potency in the aftermath. It is no simple case of an adrenaline overdrive either; there is that, obviously, but more pertinently I believe this style of death metal to be a receptacle and a crucible for our values – or more accurately, whatever is the raw soup from which values coalesce – in their most primal element, unshaped and completely wild.

Like Finnish band Sickness, Thy Feeble Saviour capture this essence of violence in pocket-sized songs never greater than three minutes in length. But where Sickness play Altars of Madness styled ripping death metal, Thy Feeble Saviour‘s oeuvre traditionally revolves around an interplay between tempos; that the band eschews the outright dirges of mid-latter period Incantation without resorting to the stripped-down ethos of a Profanatica, and still comes away with organically alive songs is to their credit. This awareness alone sets them apart from the many Incantation clones, but by reaching back even further into the great band’s catalog for inspiration, by taking the lessons of Onward to Golgotha no less to heart, Thy Feeble Saviour establish themselves among the elite pursuing this style of death metal today.

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1 Response to Thy Feeble Saviour – And Darkness Fell (2018)

  1. P.B. says:

    While I agree with the overall substance of this review, I do have to note that your characterization of the Texas death metal scene seems like more of a characterization of the Houston death metal scene (where Thy Feeble Savior are from, along with Imprecation, Blaspherian, Christ Dismembered, War Master, etc.) and a couple of DFW bands (mainly because DFW has less of a regional identity than the other Texas cities do right now). The different cities in the state really all have their own thing going on; San Antonio is heavily ’80s primal death metal influenced (La Sanche, Hod, Pious Levus); Austin tends to be more anthemic and sweetly melodic (Trenchant, Morgengrau, Ayasoltec); El Paso specializes in a charismatic brand of war metal that only really works 100% live but is consistently energetic and oddly catchy for something that can be described as “war metal” (Obeisance, Satanik Goat Ritual, Nigrummagia); and DFW is all over the place (Condemner, Embalmed, Divine Eve, Disannulleth).

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