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Wednesday 10 June 2020

Reviews: Ritualistic, Orgone, Isolates, Witches (Paul H & Liam)

Ritualistic: Hollowborn (Self Released) [Liam True]

Mixing various sub-genres has always proved to be a difficult task for most bands, it’s even harder when the sub-genres you’re mixing are basically the same. With this mixing being all things Death Metal. Ritualistic blend these genres together seamlessly to produce an intense album filled to the brim with demolishing riffs, furious blast beats and sickening vocals. Having only released one EP prior to their debut album they’re already a force to be reckoned with.

First song and title track is a furious introduction with one of the best riffs I've heard for a while behind a destructive backdrop of instrumental technicality that only a few Death Metal bands can harness. It’s a doorway to show what the band can do with their respective instruments. And it’s a hell of an opener. From every song that follow it get’s faster. It gets more technical. It gets heavier. The band get three songs in and deliver a blistering performance on The Will Of Ba’al which is a face melter of unfathomable chaos. Beyond and Rebirth are brilliant separate tracks but played back to back they blend together perfectly to crate one giant song which is even better. The feral witch like vocals of Anthony Michelli echo across the impending doom of a battlefield that they’ve created, laying waste to all Death Metal bands releases in 2020 so far.

For a debut album it’s an impressive start, but the band themselves are no strangers to the Death Metal scene. For starters the guitarist Jacob Nates has played in Deathless and F.E.A.R. Octopus like drummer Shane Polk was also a previous member of Deathless. Frantic bass player Brian O’Leary has played with Rotting Phallus and Shrieking vocalist Anthony Michelli is the current vocalist for The Enigma Code. Together they’ve combined their efforts into Ritualistics phenomenal debut album that have shown the band are on top form and won’t stop until they’ve laid waste to all bands in their path. 9/10

Orgöne: Mos/Fet (Heavy Psych Sounds) [Paul Hutchings]

This album is one of the most challenging I’ve ever had to review. The first studio by French band Orgöne comprises four 20 minute tracks that make up a double album, and delivers a cosmic range of science fiction mythology in an immersive kaleidoscope consisting of 70’s pop culture, ancient Egypt, pan-Africanism, spatial and paranormal exploration against the backdrop of Cold War and USSR. Self-produced, the album opens with Erstes Ritual, a 19-minute opus which envelopes the listener in a wild and chaotic ride that is unpredictable, crazed and somewhat bizarre. The wild vocals of Olga Rostropovitch blend Siouxsie, Kate Bush and PJ Harvey in a maelstrom of confusion, shrieks and groans, the atmospheric delivery combined a spiky punk rock arrogance. Badged as Space Rock, sweeping passages certainly push the band forward. 

Formed in 2015 by Nick Le Cave (bass) and Marlen Stahl (guitar), veterans of numerous Indie-Rock, Free Rock and Rock In Opposition/Avant-Garde French bands, they decided to create a back to basics rock band, in their hometown of Rennes (Brittany). The arrival of the French-Polish Rostropovitch on lead voice, Allan Barbarian on drums and Tom Angelo on keyboards completed the line-up (the latter two also members of stoner outfit Djiin). 

The 80 minutes here allows the band to freely explore virtually every style they wish, with the long suites of music allowing an assembly of experimental soundscapes; the use of motorik rhythms, tribal and Arabic sounds and a mixture of organic space and Kraut rock with psychedelic textures. Tracks in the second 20 minutes see an almost hallucinogenic mind trip, a wall of noise and the fabulously titled Soviet Hot Dog! The whole album is an assault on the senses, driven by noise and rhythms so varied that trying to describe them is pointless. Closing with another 19-minute-long song Astral Fancy, I was left bewildered, confused and conflicted. This is an album that few will listen to. It may be a journey too far. But should you decide to take the trip, you may find hidden gems to satisfy. 6/10

Isolates: Hollow (Self Released) [Liam True]

Being a mainly instrumental atmospheric band is always a turn off for me in terms of bands. Isolates however are a 50/50 mix of this and Djent. While the instrumental songs and sections are extremely beautiful, they get old quite quick. I usually hate instrumental songs but Reboot, 1111 & Elm are perfect in their own ways and are crafted by gods. The main songs however are Just as good. The Fear is a Djenty-atmospheric blend of beautiful chaos with Carmen Eliza’s gorgeous voice at work. Forces is as heavy as it is soft with Drew Mackenzie providing his own take on the already great song. Frost and Hollow combined together to end the album is an exquisite way to finish off the masterpiece.

This album has torn me due to the contents. I love the instrumentals here, but normally I hate instrumental songs. The Djent style of the album is magnificent. But Djent is one of my lesser favourite genres. If anything Isolates may have turned me around to atmospheric instrumentals. But not quite Djent. Not yet anyway. But right now this record is one of my favourites. The blend and production is astonishing. A divinely crafted album. 8/10

Witches: The Fates (Mighty Spell Records) [Paul Hutchings]

Originally active between 1986 and 1990 and again between 1991-1999, it was in 2006 that the blackened thrash of French outfit Witches reformed for their current run. Early attempts at recording were limited to several demos before their debut long player 3.4.1. arrived in 1994. A further record, 7, was released in 2007. Two EPs and a plethora of demos and compilations have followed, with the line-up since 2014 consisting of sole original member Sibylle Colin-Tocquaine (vocals and guitar), bassist Oliver Herol, drummer Jonathan ‘Sangli’ Julé and guitarist Lienj. The Fates, album number three in case you weren’t counting is fast, extremely fast and races through nine tracks in 29 minutes. Now, Reign In Blood is the same length, so duration isn’t an issue although it is the only Slayer reference here. 

The Fates is one ferocious, explosive ball of curled up aggression that fires hard from the opening song, We Are and doesn’t let go until the final track, Death In The Middle Ages. In between it’s a flailing, wind milling eruption of battering blast beats, jagged riffing and gravel-soaked vocals that need little explanation. It’s ruthless, vicious, and intense. 

No standing on ceremony for this release, as Witches launch into We Are, a punishingly hard and heavy bulldozer of power. There is a similar approach for every track, although the band do slow down on occasion to a more measured death metal style, such as Feared And Adored which contains a massive chugging middle section, albeit with powerful blast beats underpinning it. The two slowest tracks, Last Wishes and Off The Flesh, retain the ferocity of the other tracks, and in some places the pace is even more relentless. It’s raw, it’s guttural and overall, it’s a decent release that will appeal to those who enjoy the more extreme styles. 6/10

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