Transfiguration – Lovecraftian Rhetoric (C60, Existentiell)

Transfiguration is the doom metal/black metal project of Cathal Rodgers, also the artist behind Spermacidal, Wereju, and more. Lovecraftian Rhetoric is the only release that I can find from this particular moniker, a slow-moving cassette from 2014 released on Existentiell; here, Transfiguration offers up three tracks influenced by the titular writer H.P. Lovecraft as well as Dante Alighieri, steeped in depression and mired in an ethereal muck. Both sides of this tape contain the same three tracks, making it easy for listeners to flip and repeat.

Purveyors of blackened doom will certainly enjoy Lovecraftian Rhetoric‘s often glacial pacing, with plodding tracks that reach the 9 minute mark almost every time. “Comedy Divine” keeps the same heavy bass thudding throughout with excellent depressive, melancholic synth patterns that shudder throughout the track. It’s an enveloping experience, and Transfiguration allows the notes to soar and sustain, holding them out like a wallowing wail. The vocals on this track, too, are more akin to black metal’s cries.

“Some Mute Inglorious Milton” centers more in doom territory, though, with heavy rhythmic riffs and a deeper-toned growl that echoes through the muddied recording. That murky sound is a boon to Transfiguration, creating a foggy atmosphere that makes these recordings – particularly Lovecraftian Rhetoric‘s second track – eerie and unnatural, a perfect fit to Lovecraft’s often indescribable settings.

The title track, “Lovecraftian Rhetoric,” takes on a similar tone, slowly paced with fairly simplistic drum beats and an overall synth tone that carries the track throughout. It’s another great doom offering from Transfiguration, but it also signals a problem some listeners may have with this tape: the tracks often meld together, especially at longer lengths, because of their similarities. For this reviewer, it’s not a bother considering how largely similar most doom tends to be anyway, with the differing tones elevating these tracks. But less focused listeners may find themselves struggling to pick out what makes each track distinct.

Still, Lovecraftian Rhetoric is an immensely enjoyable experience for those who like slow, funereal doom and black metal. Transfiguration has done some great work on this cassette, and it’s unfortunate that the project hasn’t – to my knowledge – released anything else yet. You can check out this release on the Existentiell Bandcamp page!

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