Posts Tagged ‘Ritual Productions’

Ritual Productions – 21st June 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

It’s perhaps fitting that self-professed occultist doom collective Drug Cult should unveil their debut long-player to coincide with midsummer’s day and the solstice.

They open with a nine-minute sludge-trudge that’s bursting with the trappings of psychedelia and old-school hard rock: ‘Serpent Therapy’ starts so slow, with so much distance between each chord that it sounds like an ending, a protracted grinding to a halt, rather than the start. Yes, this is slow, and this is heavy. The guitars are close to collapsing under their own weight, and threaten to bury Aasha Tozer’s reverb-drowned vocals in the process. It’s the soundtrack to a bad trip into the underworld, and while there’s nothing of such epic proportions to be found during the remainder of the album’s nine tracks, the darkness remains all-pervasive.

There’s a classic, vintage quality to the songs, but it’s all sludged up, twisted and messy, and what the songs lack in duration (the majority are below the four-minute mark) they more than compensate in density. The riffs lumber slow, low, and heavy, the bass grinds just as slow and even lower: the percussion doesn’t propel, but instead lands in thunderous ricochets while the cymbals wash in tidal waves. In fact, it’s like listening to an early Melvins 45 at 33, save for the vocals, which never sound anything less than borderline deranged.

The sense of volume is immense, speaker-shredding, earth-shattering. And just when it doesn’t seem possible to drive any deeper, grind any lower, ‘Bloodstone’ reaches a new low in low, the essence of doom-laden hard rock riffing distilled to its absolute. The form is still apparent: Drug Cult don’t take it beyond the limits as Sunn O))) do, but against contemporaries like Esben and the Witch and Big Brave, Drug Cult stand out for their concision and their eschewing of passages of levity: this is unforgiving, ultra-heavyweight from beginning to end. As such, it’s a truly megalithic work. Worship it.

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Ritual Productions – 4th May 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

Silence. Hit play and get silence. This is a Bong album, and they’re in no hurry to get going. Why should they be? They have all the time in the world. And beyond.

For a band whose name suggests herbal inertia, and whose brand of stoner doom conveys the same elongation of time, they’ve hardly been slack in creating a substantial body of work since their formation in 2005. Over that time, they’ve evolved, developing from heads-down sludge toward more expansive territories. Thought and Existence is nothing if not expansive and exists in a territory somewhere between the infinite expanses of inner and outer space.

At first, the drone is quiet, distant. A voice rings out, monotone, ominous, ceremonial. The ceremony is about to begin. The guitars don’t so much kick in as glide, rising in thickness and volume, like a mudslide. It’s over three minutes in, but barely two bars have elapsed before the murky, muffled drumming arrives. A single chord hangs, sustaining forever. Slow is not the word: the pace is beyond glacial, as light years elapse between each beat, each cymbal crash ringing out like a supernova in a distant galaxy. Movement so slow as to be barely perceptible, yet strangely beautiful and utterly compelling.

The eternal drone condenses the weight of all matter. And the voice… The voice booms sonorously, elongated vowels protract each syllable to wordlessness.

Thought and Existence consists of just two side-long compositions, the second of which, ‘Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius’ (the title of which is taken from a work of speculative fiction by Jorge Luis Borges which is heavy on concept for its brevity) rolls in slow, deliberate waves, a simple riff repeating on, and on, and on. The effect is absorbing, hypnotic, immersive. It’s also curiously uplifting and transportative, a form of sonic meditation.

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Ritual Productions – 11th November 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

You might expect that the tracks on an album containing just six songs would consist of long, dawn-out affairs. But not Thralldom’s latest offering: there are a couple that extend beyond the six-minute mark, but in the main, these are short pieces, under four minutes in duration. But in terms of dark intensity, they’re immense.

The introductory instrumental, ‘Cosmic Chains’ is a disturbing vocal cacophony from the bowels of hell which paves the way for the blackened trudge of ‘Chronovisions’, which truly sets the tone for the album as a whole. It’s seriously fucking dark, tangled gothic guitar lines weaving tapestries which depict unspeakable events of demonic torture and pain.

It may be that Thralldom have been silent for over a decade, but is seems that the intervening years since their last release have been spent crawling through subterranean passages by candlelight, stooped, starved and rabid, and battling with marauding demons every step of the way. And so as what’s billed as ‘Thralldom 3.0’ emerge, screaming and agonised into the light, it’s hard to tell if they’ve slain those demons or become partly consumed by them: Time Will Bend Into Horror forges a netherworld of tempestuous torment. The title is fitting in that it reflects the ancient evils which claw their way through the spaces between the crooked notes and mangled power chords which form the fabric of an album which soundtracks a walk through purgatory. In the hands of Thraldom, a four-minute composition feels like ten or more as they grind out the darkest, most oppressive noise.

The angry grey surges of noise which crash and thrash over a violent percussive assault on ‘The Corpse of the Radar Towers Over All’ collides against the churning discord of ‘Dark Grey Mist’, a track which brings elements of Swans’ Cop into a metal maelstrom that’s as black as the canal of Satan’s sphincter. It’s gnarly, alright – and then some – and brings horror in spades.

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Their latest album, Reliquary For a Dreamed Of World has already received a big thumbs up from Aural Aggravation. To coincide with the release, the band, known for their mind-melting visuals, celebrate video nasties in their brand new official video for ‘Milk Of Amnesia’.

Here’s what Adam Richardson had to say about it… “The video for ‘Milk of Amnesia’ is a visual banquet to serve the song…. it is a psych rock anthem with black metal delivery and aesthetic – wildly different to any other song on the album… so we have used appropriately toned low-budget horror film clips as well as the intense psychedelia of drug drenched visions to act as an accompanying bludgeon to what is the shortest song we have ever recorded (under 4mins)”.

Brace yourselvs and watch / listen below:

Ritual Productions – 28th October 2016

11Paranoias do heavy psychedelic with the emphasis very much on the heavy. Their fourth album, Reliquary For A Dreamed Of World is a downtuned, ultra-low frequency, mega low-tempo doom sludge trudge through the darkest places of psychedelia. The crushing riff that lands halfway through ‘Peripheral Metamorphosis,’ the album’s first track, registers around the same sonic zone as Swans’ ‘Cop’. There’s an eternity between each pulverizing drum smash, which lands with the force of a planetary collision, and the power-chords are heavier than is conceivable for mere instruments to make: this is music that’s nothing short of galactic in its enormity and weight. It’s the sound of dark matter combusting.

Five minutes into the 15-minute mammoth that is ‘Destroying Eyes’, a whip-crack treble-topped snare snaps through the dense murk of noise to propel a vocal track, layered in delay and reverb to plough a New-Wave inspired furrow before it all explodes, unexpectedly, in a blistering wig-out centres around a driving goth-tinged groove.

After the hypnotic ‘Avallaunius’ chills the intensity – at least for the first three minutes or so, at which point it brings the noise – ‘Mutus Liber’ brings it low and slow and goes for the crushingly heavy in a big way, the mangled vocals all but lost in the tsunami of immense power chords. ‘Meditation on the Void’ is the darkly hypnotic workout the title suggests, whipping up a cyclone of psychedelia which threatens to collapse in on itself. After the slowly spiralling ‘Phantom Pyramid’, the brevity of the final track, ‘Milk of Amnesia’ is unexpected. In fact, a squalling barrage of feedback a snarling, ripping bass from which emerges something that for all the world resembles a distorted segment of Fields of the Nephilim’s cover of Roxy Music’s ‘In Every Dream Home a Heartache’, it’s unexpected in pretty much every way imaginable.

Conjuring mental spaces and a hallucinogenic, mirage-filled alternative reality, Reliquary For A Dreamed Of World conjures a world that’s s much a nightmare as a dream. It’s a powerful album which, while heavy – and oftentimes, monumentally so – displays a remarkable knack for a deep groove. It’s an album that will bend your brain, while crushing it by sheer force at the same time.

 

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Ritual Productions – 6th May 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

PYR is the third album by sludgelords Ghold, and the press release promises an album ‘towering with a sonic thickness, frantic dizzying energy and shattering immediacy, penetrated by despondent howls and an uncompromising slice of remorselessness’. Christ. So it’s heavy, then?

You could say that. It begins with a slow throb, a low, deep bass tone that borders on ambience and lurks on the peripheries of awareness. Off course, you know it’s going to come in heavy at some point, but the suspense… The release is glorious. A throbbing beast of a riff ploughs in, the bass dominant, the occasional vocals barely audible in the landslide of sludge. After the 11-minute monolithic beast that is the first track, ‘Collusion with Traitors’, ‘Blud’ piledrives in with a squalling frenzy that’s more Fudge Tunnel than Sunn O))) and clocks in at an uncharacteristically concise five minutes.

‘CCXX’ brings more weight and overloading riffs with crushing bass to the fore, but it’s the 21-minute ‘Despert Thrang’ which dominates the album in every way. It’s practically an album in its own right. Again, it’d all about the build, about the pacing. Gradually, a tempest rises from not a whisper but a downturned, growl. Blasts of percussion and powerchords blast in, haltingly, threatening to break but holding back until finally, the levee breaks and the riff powers forth. What else is there to do buy clench your fists, mouth ‘fuck yes’ and get down? It’s got some serious heft, and evolves over the course of its epic span, finally culminating in a blitzkrieg of noise.

While this is very much an album made for vinyl – of the kind that you want to play rather than stick on your wall as some kind of hip-kid statement, the CD does offer a bonus cut in the shape of ;’Something of Her Old Fire’, a gnarly bass-driven grind that trudges its way mercilessly to a final climax.

For all the big distortion and emphasis on the bottom end, not to mention the relentless churn that defines the album, there is texture, and in terms of tempo changes and dynamic, PYR has considerable range. And yes, it’s devastatingly heavy.

 

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Ghold Online

 

The Poisoned Glass (the duo of Stuart Dahlquist and Edgy59) unveil debut album 10 Swords  through Ritual Productions on 22nd April. Ahead of the release and coinciding with the start of their first European tour, they’ve offered up for public consumption ‘Low Spirits’. ‘Stockhausen-esque’, it’s bleak, downtuned, doomy and difficult. We like it. Hear it here:

 

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LIVE SHOWS:

14/04/2016 Netherlands, Tilburg – Het Patronaat, Roadburn Festival
15/04/2016 Belgium, Brussels – Magasin4
16/04/2016 Germany, Osnabrueck – Bastard Club
17/042016 Czech Republic, Prague, Chapeau Rouge
18/04/2016 Germany, Hamburg, MS Stubnitz
20/04/2016 Norway, Oslo – Blitz
22/04/16 – Belgium, Antwerp – Antwerp Music City Issue
24/04/2016 Netherlands, Amsterdam – OCCII
26/04/2016 – France, Lille – Centre Culturel Libertaire (CCL)
27/04/2016 France, Paris – La Mécanique Ondulatoire
28/04/2016 UK, Bristol – The Exchange
29/04/2016 UK, London – The Black Heart, Desertfest