RITUAL DEATH “Ritual Death”

By Dr. Abner Mality

If this is the first band called RITUAL DEATH, I’d be shocked. But I can’t think of another off the top of my head. Anyhoo, this is every bit as morbid and cheerless as you would suspect. They say they play “black metal from the grave” and yes indeed, the stench of a disinterred crypt wafts over the entire album.

With “Ancient Devil Worship”, we get a Tom Warrior approved “OOOGH!” and launch into a HELLHAMMER/FROST primitive riff swamp complete with a kind of swinging drumbeat. That simple, stripped down beat accompanies many of the tracks here and is kind of a RITUAL DEATH trademark. There is definitely a lot of CELTIC FROST/DARKTHRONE obeisance going on throughout this gloomy opus, but that is not the exclusive sound. At times, these guys blast in the ferocious style of MARDUK or even GORGOROTH. But when you’ve got a song called “Black Metal Terror” on your album, well, you better rip and tear. The band also boasts a keyboardist and he definitely adds a funereal atmosphere to ditties like “Lunae”, “Morbid Veils of Kharon” and “The Pale King”. The keys usually take the form of ancient cathedral organs, perfect for a Satanic ritual or maybe the funeral of a diabolical personage. On the last song “Nothingness Without, Emptiness Within”, they have an ongoing duel with the snarling guitar barrage which they eventually win, ending the album on a Halloween-like note.

This is about as original as auto-tune on a shitty Latino rap album, but it absolutely works. Primitive, evil black metal for the death-obsessed among us.