What drew my attention to Rituaal were the band’s members: They consist of guitarist/vocalist Justin Stubbs from Father Befouled and Encoffination, drummer Jake Rothlisberger from Nashville’s Mourner, and vocalist/guitarist Mike Meacham from Loss — killer bands, all of them. That trio formed Rituaal a little over a year ago and recorded two songs in September 2012 that will be released as a 7″ vinyl EP by Portland’s Parasitic Records this summer. Recently, Rituaal put up both songs for streaming on Bandcamp — “Ordo Walpurga” and “Datura at the Astral Sabbat”.
Imagine a musical black hole deep in a gravity well that’s inexorably sucking all light and matter down into its powerful vortex, and that will give you some sense of “Ordo Walpurga”. It’s a massive, groaning dirge of distorted chords and ponderous drum and cymbal hits, emanating a morbid melody and echoing with the cavernous roars and disemboweling shrieks of the vocalists.
“Datura at the Astral Sabbat” vibrates with unholy blackened energy. What begins as a ritualized chant of abraded vocals and thumping percussion accelerates into a buzz of tremolo-picked guitars and then slows to a crawl, still shrouded in distortion and breathing with the life of shimmering occult melody. This trade-off between ghastly doom/death and blackened misery continues until this beast gasps its last horrific sound.
If you think you might have a taste for bleak, crushing doom mixed over cold fire in a cauldron with elements of death and black metal, then feed yourself with this EP. Rituaal will suck the soul right out of you and then pound and carve your corpse into mincemeat. Highly recommended for those ready to be taken by the void.
If you like what you hear, follow Rituaal on Facebook via this link.