Review: “The Grotesque Arena” by Feculent

What happens when a collection of four musicians known for their work in Black, Death and Thrash Metal get together in a rehearsal space and play some Jack Daniels Beer Pong? Ideas are birthed, bonds are forged and the end product is a both a new project and a new record. The project is called Feculent, the record “The Grotesque Arena” and the style Doom soaked Death Metal. Comprising members of Shackles, Snorlax, Resin Tomb, Descent, Siberian Hell Sounds and Idle Ruin, Feculent are perhaps the nastiest thing to escape from Brisbane, Australia. The debut release was recorded and mixed in house by multi instrumentalist Brendan Auld (Snorlax, Resin Tomb) and intriguingly mastered by Arthur Rizk (Road Mutant, Cavalera Conspiracy, Enforced).

If you’ve heard any material by any of the band members that form this one, you’ll know that there is a collective love of all things Blackened, something which transcends the sub-genres in which they play and touches everything they do like the fickle finger of fate upon the hand of the Grim Reaper himself. The spitting, snarling and downright demonic vocals from the depths of the fiery pits of hell itself tear through your very soul like a hot knife through butter during “Upon Splintered Bone“, the unrelenting rumble of blast beats a backdrop upon which the Butcher hook riffs hang. Standing Feculent apart from the projects of the collective members are the Death Metal riffs what take the work of bands like Twitch Of The Death Nerve and Jungle Rot and fuse it like adamantium to the skeleton the beast, the tempo shifts building a brooding and foreboding atmosphere throughout. “Host Consumed” has a more sinister edge with the bludgeoning rhythmic battery of a classic mid-tempo Death Metal cut with a plague of flies from the throat of Auld attacking the rotting corpses of the Zombies that surround him before “Endless Warfare” brings back those tempo shifts of the opening cut. Having a greater Black Metal leaning but escaping the trappings of sounding like has been recorded in a cave, the haunting sinister tales match the riffs perfectly. Finding the balance between Death and Black Metal more easily with well times squeals in the turn around and blast beats throughout the bridge, you’d have to question whether one of the renowned masters of percussive battery like Gene Hoglan, Brandon Trahan or Kevin Talley could match the brutality of “Beneath Bedlam” without doing themselves a serious injury. Things slow down to a skull crushing stomp of murderous intent for “A Perverse Spectacle” as we go from brutal to nasty as the beast rises from the depths for one last alligator death roll. The frantic beginning has schizophrenic touches with that brutal bark encroached upon by a slightly shriller one that gives the feel of a split personality while the rumbling drums sound like artillery shelling the west wing [8/10]

Track listing

  1. The Grotesque Arena: Upon Splintered Bone
  2. Host Consumed
  3. Weaponisation Of The Amygdala: Endless Warfare
  4. A Pit Of Unscalable Depths
  5. Beneath Bedlam
  6. The Grotesque Arena: A Perverse Spectacle

The Grotesque Arena” by Feculent is out 19th March 2021 via Brilliant Emperor Records and is available over at bandcamp

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