I’m feeling doomed today. I started with a review of the debut album by Seattle doom duo Bell Witch, and now I’m moving on to the new LP-length split by Rituals from Phoenix, Arizona, and DeZafra Ridge from Leipzig, Germany. Both bands are new discoveries for me, and very fortunate ones. Though their musical approaches differ from each other, the songs they’ve created for this split on the Alerta Antifascista label are excellent.
Each of the two bands contributes two long songs to the split, with the pair created by Rituals clocking in at more than 9 minutes each. Forlorn guitar notes and the harsh whistle of a cold wind open “It Means Nothing”, and a slow, shimmering guitar melody follows that, with the intermittent thump of a drumbeat backing it. Eventually, ragged vocal roars convey bestial malignancy as the glittering guitar melody builds in intensity.
Past the halfway point, the intensity diminishes and a clean dual guitar harmony weaves seductive magic. The vocals build to a harrowing howl. The song seques into a slow, beautiful, hypnotic finish. The aura is one of bereavement and pain, but the melody is also glorious. There’s an almost post-black metal feel to this doom, and it strikes a strong emotional chord.