Phurpa / Deathstench – Evoking Shadows Of Death LP Black Plagve 2016
On paper the pairing of the Russian ritual collective Phurpa and the American death industrial unit Deathstench promised to deliver intriguing results. In the end the outcome is more of an 12”EP given that there is around 25 minutes of music in total over the two sides of vinyl.
Given the minimalist percussive/ ritual chanting slant of Phurpa, this focuses the music towards a murky ritual ambient style, as opposed to the potentially heavy, pounding, death industrial side of Deathstench’s sound. (..let’s just describe this ‘ritual death ambient’). For the two ‘untitled’ compositions each follow similar sonic trajectories which involves deep ‘mineshaft’ bass rumbles and sparse atonal guitar riffing (obviously courtesy of Deathstench), which are coupled with the distinctive drawling Tibetan ‘throat signing’ chants and organic ritual percussion (obviously courtesy of Phurpa), which each gradually elevate to weighty crushing heaviness.
Although heavy and enveloping in its sonic darkness, there is also ample breadth to the sound palate to provide tonal separation of individual elements within the mix. Sonically this release is relatively straight down the line in sound and is faithful to what could be expected from a paring of the projects, but also perhaps leaves me wanting something ‘more’ (…although being a solid release, it also does not quite reach a ‘pinnacle’ level that was anticipated). Visually the cover suits the music perfectly, but for those slow to the punch the vinyl pressing of 150 copies is evidently already sold out.