There has been some impressive doom and heavily weighted sludge driven releases this year and right up there with them is the storm of sonic destruction Rituals from Swizz metalers shEvers. The six track album is colossal, a tempest of death spawn tar thick doom aggression to consume and erode the senses.
Formed in 2003 by guitarist Jessie and original drummer Melanie, with bassist Nadine joining soon after and vocalist Alex the following year, the all girl band unleashed their first demo The Mirror in 2004 as well as playing numerous shows across Switzerland including a show with Place Of Skulls. Two years later their debut album Ocean Of Illusions was unleashed with the current line-up coming together with Sarah replacing Melanie on drums in 2007. Across the years the witches of venom have played with bands such as Jex Thoth, Esoteric, Amenra, Saturnus, Ahab, Esoteric, and Obelyskkh, successfully played many festivals, and released the well received EP, A Dialogue With The Dimensions in 2009.
The band recorded Rituals in 2011 with its CD release this year coming through Total Rust, the label having already approached the band about releasing their debut at the time though it never came to be, and Svart Records for the vinyl release. It is a consumptive assault of tempestuous sounds and oppressive shadows which envelope and smothers the senses mercilessly and constantly. The sounds overwhelm and
constrict the air sucking its energy into the malevolent mire of intense and thick ravenous energy. It is not all death and decaying shadows though as the band infuse squealing and incendiary sonics throughout to ignite the passions fully.
The opening Ritual Of Chaos is a crawling hateful slab of metal, its haunting atmosphere spliced with intrusive insanity enforced by the excellent rabid bestial vocals of Alex. It is sinisterly tense and dramatic, the riffs towering and their crushing presence impossible to defend against, though why one would want to avoid such a compulsive and welcome violation that the band lay upon their victims is unimaginable.
The outstanding and best track on the album Delirio feasts next with its equally suffocating ambient mass and provocatively engaging melodic charms. The song is beauty in its every form, the decayed breath and deathly atmosphere as glorious as the synapse burning sonic imagination and hungry predatory basslines. As with the majority of the album everything comes at a lumbering dragging pace and intensity but the effect is a mesmeric trance inducing weave though the meditative result is of nightmares rather than splendour. The song evolves into a delicious sludge riot for its climax to again unveil the strong invention and imagination of the band.
The following tracks like the hypnotic bruising that is Je Suis Nee and the stunning Souls Colliding with its plunging disturbed soundscape simply leave one in total absorbed bliss, suffering at times but welcoming every intrusive manipulation and caustic rub. The second of this pair really is majestic, the merging of the blackest pit and strongest sun a perfectly merged clash of extremes.
Closing with the almost grunge fuelled sludgefest of (You Are) The Mirror and the punishing crawl that is That He Na Te, the album is an immense and fully satisfying violation upon the senses. Rituals is one of the best genre releases to eat the senses this year whilst placing shEver as one of the prime doomers around.
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