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?