“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.
unique choice of band name.
Indeed it is… which suits the uncommon nature of the music. 🙂
That band name just makes me cringe, I don’t know if Mr. Kressman speaks french (it’s my birth language) but dégringolade to me means falling down but in a silly way like “I was drunk and I fell down the stairs” (j’étais saoul et j’ai dégringoler les marches) The music is ok I guess but I can’t get passed the silliness of the bands name unless there is story behind it that I don’t understand. Anyway, I have been a long time fan of this website, wanted to say thanks for all the awesome music you made me discover. Cheers
Though a significant part of my own ancestry is French, I know a sum total of about 10 French words, so I’m no one to talk, but I had thought degringolade referred to a collapse or downfall, and not in a silly way. I doubt that Paul Kressman meant it to be a silly reference of any kind, given his own history and the band’s history. But as I say, I can’t offer any direct insights. Regardless, we do appreciate your kind words about our site.
The word has a specific meaning in English as Islander points out. It means ‘tumbling’ as per its etymological origins, but really implies a rapid decline. Analogies in French would be stuff like “dégringolade boursière” and “écosystème en dégringolade”.
I like this quite a bit. Will definitely keep an eye out for a vinyl release.