Album Review: Betrothal to the Stone: Conception of Mephisto – Sophist


There’s one thing Canadian Black/Grind duo Sophist duo don’t do, and that is procrastinate. Forming in June of this year, and releasing this EP just a few months later, the duo; Michael Sparks covering bass and guitar, and Davis Hay on programming and vocals, take a straightforward approach to their sound. A little in the vein of Anaal Nathrakh, obviously without the Dave Hunt vocal range (only Dave is capable of that achievement), however this three track EP with its three bonus instrumentals, the same three tracks, minus the vocal input, still manages to deliver the suitably unrelentingly face searing, fast tempo malevolence you might hope for. It won’t disappoint, it’s musicianship is solid.

The six track EP spans a surprisingly ample, particularly for Grind, twenty two minutes, opening with the driving “Betrothal to the Stone: Conception of Mephisto”, where acerbic vocals are layered over a core of drums and programming, with the guitar work sandwiched brutally in between. 

Choke on Your Own Bile” follows in the same vein but is a little punchier in delivery, and also has a lot more variance in pace and direction, with the extra manoeuvring room gained from being the longer track of the three, as well as unleashing a lot more vitriol in the vocals.

A Captive of Saturn’s Scythe” is the shortest of the three and at times fastest, and when it’s not fast it’s just insanely brutal, so a win-win situation.

The idea of having the three bonus instrumentals, “Betrothal to the Stone: Conception of Mephisto​”, “Choke on Your Own Bile” and “A Captive of Saturn’s Scythe” at first puzzled me, BUT when you actually listen to them without the lyrics you get a different feel and perspective, it’s no less brutal, in fact in some ways it feels more brutally crushing, the unrelenting drive of the music keeps forging forward making an unencumbered and exhilarating listen and you catch a lot of aspects you might miss when you have the vocal input .

Betrothal to the Stone: Conception of Mephisto”’ is being independently released as a Limited edition EP or Digital download. 

Rating – 3.5/5


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