Triumvir Foul – “Triumvir Foul”

Triumvir Foul

Disgust, horror, and violence are all well worn paths in extreme music. When artists elect to channel filth and misanthropy, the results often elicit yawns at worst, or mild interest at best. Every now and then an album or group actually hits the mark somewhere between sickening and memorable, and it’s the most rewarding kind of ugly. Triumvir Foul’s self-titled LP is exactly that. The members’ pedigrees have been discussed enough elsewhere, and to be honest they have little bearing on the direction taken with  Triumvir Foul’s otherworldly lows. Much like the cross-dimensional torture of the Cenobites in the Hellraiser movies, Triumvir Foul is an album that seems conjured from another plane for no purpose other than to celebrate all that is painful and deviant.


From the stark cover art by Timo Ketola and the ghastly logo by Samu Salovaara to the song titles themselves, every detail of Triumvir Foul is laid out in a fashion that warns would-be listeners before a single note has been played. While sonic brethren may be easy to find for this kind of self-cannibalizing blackened death metal, there’s something uniquely horrifying here. Triumvir Foul’s initial EP, An Oath of Blood and Fire, didn’t have such a grotesque approach with its throwback death metal aggression. What changed? It’s hard to say. The core lineup remains the same, yet there’s an urgency and murk that weren’t present before, blanketing an already hideous take on death metal with an extra helping of stomach-churning misery. Guitars are layered deeper than ever before, while the vocals feel more confident and prominent, as if truly coming from beyond some hideous veil. Playing at concepts of darkness is easy, yet Triumvir Foul shows their ferocity in a way that is convincing without the masquerading that many other bands must utilize to convey such mental imagery.

From the droning chords of opener “Labyrinthine – The Blood Serpent Unwinds,” a grisly tone is set, but it’s in a way that is equally monolithic and concise. Save for the first track, which includes a lengthy introduction, none of the songs on Triumvir Foul stretch more than a moment past the five minute mark. Many bands shooting for such towering evil tend to utilize extended song length to overwhelm the listener, yet this can lead to a rather monotonous or exhausting listen. The brevity of these songs allows them to make their mark without sitting still for too long. Instead, the listener is left to wonder which curve will come next, adding to the unease that makes this album so effective. Triumvir Foul’s take on subterranean death metal may not be an entirely new approach, but it’s some of the most well composed and focused stuff to be released in quite a while.

Triumvir Foul

Copies of the cassette have already sold out from the band’s label at Vrasubatlat, but copies of the CD and both long-sleeve and short-sleeve shirts are still available from Blood Harvest and are well worth your time. Blood Harvest will be issuing Triumvir Foul on vinyl in February, so keep your eyes open for one of the most unforgiving analog experiences in the very near future. For now, enjoy the full stream above and brace yourself for pure destructive transformation.