Monday, November 22, 2010

Ramesses: Take the Curse (2010)


Ramesses is a doom metal band from the UK, and their second full-length, Take the Curse, finds them exploring every subset of the larger doom universe in a very kvlt way.

Their sound is built on a solid foundation of stoner/sludge doom in the vein of Electric Wizard and Sleep, with hints of Zoroaster. It's got that ultra-dirty sludge sound and extremely heavy riffs, gruff vocals, and drugged-out sections that you would expect from the style. The opening track is the perfect example, and it's built on one hell of a badass Electric Wizard-like riff. But Ramesses never let themselves get pinned down to one genre, exploring death/doom, drone/doom, funeral doom, and even black doom, borrowing writing styles and vocals from each of these genres. Usually, they mix several styles within a single track.

Take "Baptism of the Walking Dead", for instance. It starts out as death/doom, with death growls, goes into a drugged out stoner doom phase, and finally ends on funeral doom with black metal rasps.

Some tracks incorporate keyboards or spoken word samples, and normally I hate samples but they're well-used here. Others have simple but very dirty-sounding backdrops to let some relatively clean guitar solos shine over the top. Because they never stay on one thing for too long, you're not likely to get bored at any point on the album. And somehow, it all seems cohesive.

On the downside, none of the riffs stand up to the one on opener "Iron Crow" (the title track is the next-best thing), leaving you wanting more great riffage, and the drums are not spectacular.

The Verdict: This is extremely dirty, inventive doom metal that works despite its eclecticism. The only thing it's missing is more great and memorable riffs. I give Take the Curse 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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