(Season Of Mist, 2015)
Ritual Killer is a kind of a cult-band, when considering the amount of music they’ve put out, and the cult-like quality of it. At least in my book. Consisting of previous and current members of bands such as Goatwhore and Psychon Vex, this NOLA four-piece have now released their second full-length (the first amazing one “Upon The Threshold Of Hell” came out in 2005) during their about 16-year-long existence. This album must absolutely not be thought of on the same level as for example a recent Goatwhore-album, which might be thought of being a good display of the member’s playing and writing skills, compared to this piece of Blackened art, which is more like a nod towards the roots of the type of Black and Death Metal the members obviously love. A nostalgia-band, some might say, but also so much more.
Putting on the first song, after a really weird intro of spoken samples, we are taken directly amidst a violent and insane display of blasting Black Metal madness, crowned with even more bizarre vocal samples, besides the more “normal” Blackened vox similar to those of the first album. The second song follows with the same pace and raging insanity, slowing down a bit in the middle of the song. Analyzing what we have heard so far, we can honestly say this Black Metal is old, really old. I can not help but to think if “Blaze In The Northern Sky” would have been made in South America. The third song is nothing but a burst of fast Hellhammerisque Punk Black Metal, right up to the vocals, which sound twisted and Punk as fuck. Also, the riff here is as ugly and “uncool” as possible. Nothing commercial or nice about this shit.
The fourth song lifts up the pace, keeping the attitude of the ugly melodies / riffing from the previous song. Again the layers of different kinds of fucked up screaming vocals control the scene of this overally old Black madness. The fifth song is pretty much as straightforward as the previous one, keeping the steady battery of the album intact before slowing down to Sludgy speeds and riffing in the middle of the song, clearly reminding of the NOLA background of the band. The sixth song brings the past material of the band to my mind perhaps the most of the songs on this album, being in other words pure Deathly Black gold. The seventh song has a bit more early-nineties Norwegian vibe to it (in my ears), while being of course totally cognate with all the other material on the album. The eight and final song ties the different themes of the album together nicely, leaving in me a strong need for more.
As said above, the vocals follow the same insane logic as in the previous album, only going more further and varied with all the layers of different effect-like spoken parts and screams, which adds to the insanity which is Ritual Killer nicely.
The riffs are pretty basic, but then again you can’t do shit like this by being too avantgarde or technical. Keeping in mind the skills of all the band members involved, we can tell these riffs come straight from the heart, not the fucking guitar-school. Same goes with the drumming. Nothing fancy going on but nothing too amateurish either. Just pure fucking honest blasphemy.
The sounds (from individual instruments to the overall atmosphere) and production of the album fit the general aesthetics of the band perfectly, being clear and ripping yet hard and pounding at the same time, while staying loyal to the roots of the particular style of Black Metal in question. A very satisfying ride indeed.
In conclusion, this album is propably the best display of real, honest, hateful and sick Black and Death Metal art (with an attitude firmly rooted into Punk & Thrash of course) I’ve heard since Teitanblood’s “Death”. If you have any sympathy for what you’ve just read, or if you are just sick of all the trends going on in Black Metal – currently or during the past 20 years or so – you must obtain this album, a classic already, I’m telling you. This is the reason I still love Death and Black Metal. This shit right here.