“Above the Highest“, the track we’re premiering today from the new album by Rites of Thy Degringolade, is a strange kind of looming obsidian monolith, twisted and cracked yet glowing with the shimmer of a perilous and otherworldly light. It is a jarring and jolting experience on many levels, and yet for all that it has an undeniable charisma. How can something so unearthly and disorienting be so addictive? You shall see….
Of course, anyone familiar with the previous creations of this Canadian band will not be surprised to read that last paragraph. Over a 20-year span, Paulus Kressman and his eventual ally J. Wroth have been responsible for a collection of striking, and strikingly distinctive, works. Now, after a hiatus of more than a decade, they are returning with their first new full-length since 2005’s An Ode To Sin, and are joined on the record by new members — guitarist N.K.L.H. (Antediluvian, Weapon, Amphisbaena) and bassist C.W.
The name of the new album is The Blade Philosophical. It is being released on CD today by Nuclear War Now! Productions, with digital and vinyl editions coming in March.
But now let’s return to “Above the Highest“. It’s 10 minutes long, but seems to pass in a few blinks of the eye. It’s a skull-pounder and a mind-bender.
The song greets the listener with a kind of gloomy grandeur, slow in its pacing, with the lyrics expressed in a distorted voice half-way between speaking and singing… and then hell breaks loose in an eruption of furious drum blasting, murderous wolfish snarls, and swarming, swirling, frenzied riffing with a dissonant edge.
That full-bore onslaught is unnerving enough all by itself, but the song plays with your head by puncturing the race with brief episodes of jagged percussive stomping and pounding chords, lasting just long enough to get your head bobbing up and down once or twice and then stopping. It’s like a tease… but eventually you get the payoff when that rhythm locks in during the song’s extended mid-section.
But while your head is moving, other strange things are being perpetrated on the inside of your head, as the guitars shriek in discordant dismay, frenetically slither in reptilian ecstasy, moan in a different kind of ecstasy, and shimmer uneasily like the breath of passing specters. Even when the song resumes its more furiously assaulting pace, the finale is speckled with weird bass and guitar arpeggios. It ends… but it’s still there in your head.
Paul Kressman has said, “The Blade Philosophical is the study and catharsis in the constant state of will—deterministic all, and the self as creator and destroyer.” As mentioned the CD edition of this new album is available for order today, with digital and vinyl editions expected on March 15th.
Between this song and the album’s first single, which you can also hear below, it’s a fair conclusion that The Blade Philosophical will be one of this year’s highlights in the realms of extreme metal.