Ritual Necromancy – Oath Of The Abyss

 

Oregon’s Ritual Necromancy do not simply attack and provoke the senses, they pummel them to within a fraction of their last breath and then drive even harder and harsher until loss of feeling is a merciful relief. Though the songs with the band’s debut album Oath Of The Abyss and unleashed via Dark Descent Records, are varied and cleverly composed with diverse touches and flows it does take a fight through the thick blanket of oppressive and aggressive onslaught of sound to discover them. The album is not for the faint hearted nor those wanting to feel flourishes of light and warm melodies upon their ear, Ritual Necromancy cater for the eager to be violated and black hearted souls, their atmospheric death metal perfect for parts where light has lost its key.

The Portland quartet first drew attention with their uncompromising and vicious four-track demo but it will be this their crushing sonic exploitation of the senses that will see them surely thrust into more unsuspecting ears, their colossal wall of suffocating and draining noise poised to consume and lay waste to all in its wake.

Opening track ‘Accretion’ is a menacing atmospheric instrumental veined with a distant spoken incantation, the music giving little evidence of the devastation ahead even with its gradual and threatening build towards its climax, a finish that erupts without pause into the foul eager stench of ‘Cacophonic Dementia’. The first notable and enjoyably striking thing here is the vocals. Death metal vocals and their delivery are generally similarly themed and presented through band after band but not any come from the black depths and deep resonance as those of bassist J.F. Sounding as if they are taken from the darkest corner in the pit that is Satan’s gut they alone strip the flesh and bring forth the crimson through their caustic and intense venom. Obviously one could never claim his voice will enchant angels, more likely force birds to drop from the skies, but they have a hypnotic effect that is hard to tear ones focus away from. 

The songs come in a uniform intent to devastate and maim but also from a varied form of assault. From full on incessant and harsh fast bombardments as in the malevolent ‘The Chasm’ and the unremitting discordant guitar and exhausting force of ‘Penitence’ to the mixed up assault and slower grind of ‘Descent’ the result is the same, unforgiving intensity and senses numbing violation. One imagines the band would be gutted if anyone was standing upright with all emotions and senses intact after emerging through their vile and dark sounds, their intent seemingly to ensure every experience is a scar on the soul. This is not to imply that noise and aggression is only what the band is about as under and through the unrelenting sound there is a range of terrific ideas and play that induces a mesmeric effect upon the ear. Creative and barbed guitars slice through the intensity as equally as they enforce it, grabbing attention whilst the driving rhythms from drums and the dark pulsating basslines build a frame and thrust that demands respect and attention.

Oath Of The Abyss is at times hard work and a challenge to explore its might in one attentive go, and many will surely fall under its sonic blitz and run for relief in melodies and warmer sounds. Ritual Necromancy will never be known for warmth in their creations, they write and play to accost, assault and provoke the ear and deeper. There are not many alternatives to satisfy and guarantee such powerful responses within you than those inspired by Ritual Necromancy and Oath Of The Abyss, are you up for the challenge?

RingMaster 23/11/2011

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Nunfuckritual – In Bondage To The Serpent

The reaction listening to In Bondage To The Serpent, the debut album from Nunfuckritual, is like the hypnotic appeal of road kill or some blood soaked devastation. A mesmeric grip takes hold as one looks and searches deep into the dark and mayhem, at times feeling uncomfortable and not sure if the experience is pleasurable within the dirge of sound and intent but still unable to turn away. As curiosity of dark things is undeniable the incessant creeping black metal filth from the album, is impossible to resist, it’s thick aural blood consuming the flesh. Whatever one’s individual response to In Bondage To The Serpent the resulting impression is marked and deep, just like the monstrous black depths of the black intense soundscapes within the album itself.

Nunfuckritual is the malignant creation of four men already with a renowned pedigree, the quartet of Teloch (Nidingr, Mayhem), Espen T. Hangård (Altaar), Dan Lilker (Nuclear Assault, Brutal Truth) and Andreas Jonsson (Tyrant) coming together to conjure up six tracks containing some of the darkest and malevolent expressive intrusions heard this year. The seeds of the band began in 2006 when guitarist Teloch and vocalist Hangård began writing together, the band fully formed three years later with the addition of bassist Lilker and Jonsson on drums. In Bondage To The Serpent is their recorded debut via French label Debemur Morti Productions and whether one takes to their blasphemous extreme black metal and unrelenting oppression they will not be able to forget or ignore the virulent energy that overwhelms the ear.  

The music and tracks within In Bondage To The Serpent follow a similar make up, slow dirges and senses filling down tones that without ever leaping into explosive devastation still immerse the ear and emotions in a harsh threatening and disturbing soundscape. From the  deathly drone of opener ‘Theotokos’ through to the closing title track the intent is single minded, the music on the whole single paced, and the release a constant black wash of intense and draining sounds. It is not easily accessible at times and though varied the songs and their parts drawn out, fitting the mood and emotive feel of the tracks and content. Often one feels the tracks that come in at around 7 to 8 minutes each, over stay their welcome making continued focus hard but on reflection a shortening or omission of parts would certainly diminish considerably the power and purpose of each piece.

Each song is carefully and tightly constructed and though the oppressive atmosphere and intensity disguises the varied elements, as well as the way the band extract every essence from their ideas before eventually bringing in more, with a closer attention the distinct diversity is there. The crumbling feel of  ‘Christokos’ with its nightmarish sense of collapse of emotion, being and life, and the despair soaked haunting tone of ‘Cursed Virgin, Pregnant Whore’ being the most impressive examples on the album.

Komodo Dragon, Mother Queen’ sees the guest vocals of Attila Csihar (Mayhem) and Ravn (1349) to raise extra intrigue but it is still the rasping menace of Hangård that gives the most effective and depth to the song. The track is like the whole release, hypnotically engaging verging on mesmeric though not always with an obvious reason why. The music and delivery is beyond fault as is the songwriting at the core but it tests the attention span and the listener’s energy to retain a focus the song deserves because of length and its incessant black dirge intent.

     In Bondage To The Serpent compared to most similar veined albums this year is a stronger and more consistent release and Nunfuckritual a band that engineers good anticipation for more from them ahead. It just falls short of being marked as a must have release, though it should be looked at, with its continuous thick drone veil preventing the impressive elements from shining through. Hard work and focus gives way to their discovery but how many ears want listening to music to seem like labour?

RingMaster 23/11/2011

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