Monday, January 23, 2012
Ritual Necromancy- Oath of the Abyss
As we at Witching Metal have probably pointed out before, the numerous bands that make up the ginormous boom of putrid old school death metal assaulting our ears these days give a lot of credit to Incantation. Some would say too much credit. And I must admit, I don't get as excited about new Incantation-spawn as I did when I first heard Dead Congregation. But, as Ritual Necromancy prove, there is still some room to expand and improve on this sub-sub-genre.
I've seen them live twice, first in a tiny hole in the wall venue in Seattle Washington with Impetuous Ritual, and then on a much bigger stage at the Rites of Darkness festival in San Antonio, Texas. At the Seattle show I actually did an interview with them which I'll throw up at the end here. Both times, they fucking CRUSHED. I don't know which was better; the intimate atmosphere of a small venue or the evil majesty of a large stage. Anyways, about their studio release.
Oath of the Abyss opens with a spoken/chanted intro, ala Graves of the Archangels, and then lapses into nervous, tension-milking lines of tremolo picking, creating a feeling not unlike the climb to the top of a roller coaster before the plummet. Although, this roller coaster is in a dark and stormy corner of hell, built upon a mountain of flayed sinners. The first proper track, Cacophonic Dementia, hits you in the face like a fucking ton of bricks in the split second that the bough breaks, tearing your brain out of your skull and flinging it into the depths of the netherworld. One observation I made at this point was that Ritual Necromancy's guitar tone isn't really like any of their fellow John McEntee cults. Judging by the sheer crunchiness, I think they might actually be using the HM-2 pedal of Swedeath fame. If such is so, copious props to these guys for doing something new with that guitar sound. It really makes the schizophrenic-melodies-played-backwards Incantation inspired riffs sound great, and when they let up into a doomy section, you can feel the growling bite of the guitars in the pit of your stomach. These two elements are juxtaposed perfectly throughout the album, the alternation and cross pollination of minimalistic brooding and blasting chaos.
The production on all the instruments is goddamn sinister. The drums have kind of a wet cardboard sound in the best way possible, like they were recorded in a swamp. The vocals lurk in the midst of the mix, an ominous black shape issuing ominous commands to the surrounding miasma. The bass oozes through the cracks in sound, a subtle corrosive sludge.
Grim ass metaphors aside, this is a cool record and not just more retro death metal. If it had come out 2 or even 1 year ago, these guys would be like Cruciamentum or Anatomia status wise.
I give it 4.5/5
Again we shall descend unto Golgotha...
Here's that interview. Kind of shitty quality, but hey we were all drunk.