There is, as they say, no point in keeping a dog and barking yourself. As soon as this new record from Finland death metal quartet Purtenance unfolds, it’s immediately clear that they will be doing all the barking. And, in the realms of death metal, that should always be the case.
Brief opener ‘Into The Arctic Gloom’ sets the scene. This is a death metal record about a sorrowful, reflective trudge towards your own grave. Each of the nine tracks draws you a little closer as the pallid torchbearers illuminate a ghostly path for you to follow. The pace quickens in places – most notably during the haunting pantheons of ‘Lifeless Profundity’ and the agonising ‘Wrapped in Lamentation’ – and yet culminates in the irreversibility of ‘Burial Secrecy’. It’s here that Purtenance let you know, once and for all, that there is no going back.
Musically, this is doom record with a colossal death metal vocal performance. One gripe, and I don’t have many, is that a number of the tracks are subjected to a fade out rather than a full stop but this could be intentional as if to signify the fluidity of the subject matter.
‘Buried Incantation’ is a sold record from a band that have been around for the best part of two decades. Despite it’s philosophical depth and morbid musings, it would be equally at home in front of a couple of thousand lager-stained, baying death metal fans who purely want to bang their heads off their shoulders. That is probably it’s greatest achievement.