Saturday, October 13, 2018

Perdurant Suffering...

Rigor Sardonicous - Ridenti Mortuus (2018)

Though it's been six years since their last album, the long-running Rigor Sardonicous are back with a new EP as they approach the quarter-century mark for their first release. Ridenti Mortuus features half an hour of seeping funeral doom, divided between four tracks. Leading with “The Smiling Dead”, a chilly atmosphere of ragged guitar, booming drums, and voluminous bass presence is established with low-key flair, and the instrumental dread creeps on with heavy pressure for its full ~9-minute run. Some vocals are present, but as a low-pitched growl, wedged deep in the mix, they come off as extra atmospherics, instead of trying to overwhelm the slabby circling doom riff.
“The Hound” picks up after the first song fades into silence, bringing the vocals to higher prominence while also introducing some slow-ring cymbal action. Some shifts in other specifics are used, but for the most part, it's more of the heavy doom grind, keeping the slow flow going while the bass thrums out of your speakers. “The Unsepulchred Dead”, at five minutes, is the EP's shortest track, and it steps up the tempo slightly, while keeping the weight and gloom firmly in place while brandishing the guitar buzz a bit more.
Lastly, “Intereo Parum Infantia” comes along to close things out with twelve minutes of further crushing, and with the expanded time, the band finds more room for bridges and incidental touches, letting the sprawling song take on more personality. The way the guitar springs to life for the lead-out riff is a particularly nice touch, serving to break the spell of slow pressure built by the rest of the EP. Something to keep you grim through those long winter nights, this will be releasing on November 11th, though you can go ahead and pre-order your copy through Rigor Sardonicous' BandCamp. Since it's digital-only so far, that's probably your best option, unless you've got a thing for being real punctual with your purchases.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Heavydeath, Jupiterian, Ommadon, Thergothon, Wizard Cult


Saturday, October 06, 2018

Wings Of Eclipse...

Deathkings - Ex Nihilo (2018)

With their first release since 2016, the California-based group of Deathkings has adjusted their line-up from a quartet to a trio, dropping a guitarist and swapping out their drummer (though, in an odd twist, the new drummer has the same initials as the old one). With this two-track EP, the band brings a quarter-hour of sludge-crusted doom into being, opening with “Absolution”, a cruising crusher which angrily mourns the state of life. Breaks into slow-pulse bass throbbing and a mournful atmosphere of distant cries build up the tension and mood nicely, while the ramp back into powerful chords and assertive vocals mixes just enough roughness into its smooth ascent.
“Celestial Birds”, the B-side, runs about two minutes shorter, but makes up for that reduced time with increased aggression and raspiness. Mixing the drums to sound a little submerged brings some great low-end punch to their percussion, while the guitar twists its way through the measures with a serpentine mixture of grace and threat. Mean but stylish, heavy and focused, the song fuses its contradictions into something compelling and near-groovy, though it keeps enough dirt in the flavoring to ward off any accusations of compromise. Quite a strong pair, with each song showing off capabilities unaddressed by the other, and showing a band with plenty of fuel left in its tank after making their pit stop for realignment. Scheduled for independent release by the band on December 7th, this is one you should be sure to pick up and savor.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of; Heavydeath, Hesperian Death Horse, Jupiterian, The Sleer, Sunwolf