Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ritual Chamber - Obscurations (To Feast Upon The Seraphim)

This Californian death metal project completely composed by a man by the name of Numinas is just one of his many, many acts. Most of these he has no longer taken a part of or has disbanded, but apparently he still plays in Krohm and Vetus Obscurum. Most will remember him for his work in New Jersey funeral doom/deathers Evoken. Ritual Chamber however, doesn't really sound anything like Evoken – well, not entirely. We're still crypt crawling on this one, as we are faced with extremely fuzzy and terribly misty atmospheres which work perfectly with the oddly eerie riff structures and horrendous vocal growls emanating from the artist. Synths are even used to paint an even darker and more mysterious portrait. I won't even beat around the bush here, this is the kind of music that I'd switch out the soundtrack of a good horror game to play in the background, because it just sounds more dreadful than the shock of angry violins at the moment of jump scare. It would also work for a horror shooter, something where you take on Lovecraftian demons. Not surprisingly, the band's demo was called The Pit Of Tentacled Screams (How do screams have tentacles?) and I feel that this kind of music fits that kind of virtual atmosphere perfectly. Though there are actually some guitar solos featured on the disc (I was actually a bit surprised by this) it's the kind of disc that you could consider more of a soundscape if only the lead riffs didn't make such a strong appearance. Granted we have an awful lot of tunneling bass nodes here, but the leads come in at times which I'd say disrupt the atmosphere he's trying to convey. There's enough structure here on the performance to keep us from lulling off into a nightmare world (the disc can be admittedly slow) and sometimes those riffs that can break the atmosphere actually work to build dread, so it's a literally “damned if you do” sort of sensibility. “A Parasitic Universe” for example, sounds like the most dreadful thing to hear at either the opening or the credits for a horror film (probably would be better without the vocals there though) but then it slowly merges it's way into becoming an unexpected death metal basher. Obscurations... definitely feels like the kind of record that you can't completely predict, with absolutely horrifying pieces trudging up out of nowhere. If Numinas' goal was to make a spine-tinglingly death metal induced atmosphere, then he's most certainly done it with this one. If feels like you're trapped in an underground tunnel with no source of light and who knows what else lying in wait. If you're looking for music to play while horrendous beasts are sucking down your entrails like Twizzlers, then you'll want to pick this one up immediately.

(9 Tracks, 59:00)


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