I don’t often judge an album by its cover, but in the case of A Feast of Virgin Souls, I was more than a little put off by the artwork. It’s kinda like classic Cannibal Corpse, only slightly less gorey and much more misogynistic. And yet, one half of this female-fronted death/doom duo is… well, female. I guess Wooden Stake had it commissioned?
Anyhoo, the front cover isn’t the only thing that recalls Corpse, what with song-titles such as “Rise from the Bleeding Coffin,” “Dragged Through the Rotting Catacombs” and “Hanging from the Inverted Cross.” And yet, this isn’t paint-by-numbers, Cookie-Monster death metal, not by a long shot.
There are shades not only of trad doom, but even trad metal in “Rise from the Bleeding Coffin,” which contains clean vocals à la Blood Ceremony… with death growls thrown in for good measure, mind you. “Alzbeta: The Devil’s Bitch” is both the longest and doomiest tune on here, just under six minutes, dominated by death-metal vocals and coming off like a cross between Winter and Ides of Gemini. And while its title is seemingly pulled straight offa Seven Churches, “Exorcising the Possessed” serves up some melodious doom riffs that sound similar to Orodruin or Blizaro—the latter of whom they recorded a split with in 2011.
Surely enough, “Dragged Through the Rotten Catacombs” actually gives the impression of being pulled across putrid headstones with its knuckle-dragging doom, while “Hanging from the Inverted Cross” is equally despondent and slightly more Satanic. I actually liked this album a lot more than my first impression would suggest.