Profan "The Bestial Awakening" CDPosted on Wednesday, May 27th, 2009 @ 8:22am » permalink
"The Bestial Awakening" (released by Bubonic Productions) is billed as the "debut album" from Portugal's Profan, but seeing as it's limited to a mere 200 copies, I'm not really sure what makes it potentially more "official" than any of the preceding limited edition CD-R's in the band's (seemingly prolific) discography to date – especially since this does indeed mark my first exposure to their work. Apparently the band formed in the late-90's as a black/death metal group, and then sort of broke apart until 2004. Since that time a few lineup shifts have taken place, and Profan is now exploring a doom/drone oriented approach that's actually quite impressive. To be honest with you, in the years since "drone" has started to become recognized as somewhat of its own genre, my tolerance for/interest in such outings has rapidly decreased. I just find most "drone" bands to be extremely boring and unmoving. I'm not exactly sure what it is about Profan that captured my interest, but I could immediately sense that there was something different about this band, and they won me over right off the bat.
For one thing, drums and vocals are present, which is a plus. Let's face it: Rumbling instrumental guitar and bass drones get old fast. But more than that, there's a lot of true diversity across the board here. For example, the compositions aren't massively long just for the sake of being big, oppressive, marathon songs – of the seven tracks, some are three or four minutes, some five or six, some 10 or more (for a very tasteful total running time of about 46 minutes). More specifically, some pieces come across more like experimental noise – true "drone" – utilizing synths, vocals, and unidentifiable sound sources to create eerie dark ambient excursions; while others actually play out like "real" songs – moderately slow and relatively streamlined, sure, but with an actual sense of structure and purpose as opposed to the often haphazard and/or improvisational characteristics that I tend to associate with this type of thing. There's definitely a bit of an improvisational element at play here, whether it be found in layers of Godflesh-like feedback or throbbing low-end hums, but the use of percussion and vocals tends to help create more substance and focus. Furthermore, the vocal delivery ranges from your usual black metal-esque snarls to obscured whispers and deep, moaning chants, as well as an almost Joy Division-like croon!? There's just a hell of a lot more going on here than most such bands that I've encountered, and it really works well to create a chilling atmosphere that holds your interest throughout.
I'm not clear on ordering information for this one, so I'd contact the band on MySpace or send the label an email to see what it takes to get your hands on one of these while you still can. As far as "drone" goes, Profan is certainly deserving of significantly more praise out there…