Germany’s Sanctifying Ritual first staked their black flag in foul underground soil with their first demo back in 2009. They followed that with another demo three years later, and then came the Storm of Devastation EP in 2013 — after which the band fell silent. But now they have come roaring back with a long-awaited debut album which bears the band’s name. It will be released by the esteemed Iron Bonehead Productions on June 5th, with a digital edition available that day, as well as CD and vinyl LP formats also becoming available.
The new album, which we’re giving you the chance to hear in full today, could easily have been given the title of the band’s first demo — Sadistic Death — because that’s the kind of feeling it breeds. The music incorporates a range of stylistic ingredients, but everything sounds saturated with evil — not cold and brooding menace but poisonous, rampant, and blood-spraying malignance, nothing you could reason with or resist, a combination of seething pestilence and knives-out malice, of supernatural riot and noxious rot.
The PR materials accurately identify many of those ingredients: The music sweeps “across proto-bestial metal and blackthrash alike, from berzerker ’80s death to blitzed-out speed metal also from the ’80s, from South American on up to the North and back over to their native Germania”.
A lot of this spectrum is revealed within the very first track, “(Tales Of The) Sinister Appearance“. Skull-pounding, gut-punching and neck-hammering drums ignite the pulse, coupled with viciously deranged, roiling riffage, and a fireworks-burst of wild, overheated soloing. The scorching and serrated-edge bestiality of crypt-bound vocals echo through the head with maniacal fervor. The variable riffing also pulsates with freakish, darting energy that channels the vector of viral disease.
The band also slow into a cadaverous crawl, oozing the noxious sonic slime of degradation, or expel hallucinatory mists (though the riffing is low and dismal rather than mist-like) and let loose with galloping, black-thrashing delirium as well.
That first track becomes a template for what follows. It doesn’t reveal everything the band have in store for the listener, but it does signify the dynamism of the songwriting, and it does establish that deep feeling of evil that never goes away.
Across the next eight tracks, the band discharge demonic savagery and cursed gloom with an authentically black-hearted spirit. They introduce slithering spectral leads as well as blasts of braying melody and head-hooking, old-school heavy metal chords. They combine scissoring fretwork with punk-like romping rhythms as well as musical elements that spawn visions of preternatural menace and ghastly horror. Even the surprising acoustic guitar intro to “Stained With Rotten Blood” sounds sinister as hell.
Come to think of it, the band also could have named the album for the closing track — “Abominable Death Rebels” — because they sound like that too.
And with that, we invite you to enter the subterranean torture chamber that Sanctifying Ritual have prepared for you. You can pre-order the digital edition now, and look for the physical copies on the release day (June 5th).