Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Atriarch: Ritual of Passing (2012)

In Which I Use the Word “Enema”

I was first introduced to deathrock by the Alaric/Atriarch split from earlier this year, and since then I’ve picked up a handful more in an effort to educate myself. Atriarch is just one of the bands bleeding the 30-year-old deathrock subgenre into the 40-year-old doom metal subgenre, making something that sounds fresh in the process. Why it took so long to combine doom with the punk equivalent of doom is a mystery, but the fact that it works so well is no surprise.

Ritual of Passing begins on a slow build that could be from just about any of the darker forms of metal, but when it breaks into the main riff it sounds much more like a deathrock riff played with metal-level distortion and amplification. The lyrical cadence and delivery are typical deathrock, until he twists it into a scream. At the end of the song, it turns into a black metal blast and screech. It’s a nice touch, and it suitably sets expectations for the album.

As simply as I can phrase it, Atriarch play a combination of My Dying Bride and Christan Death, but avoid turning it into some kind of annoying, black eyeliner mope-fest by giving it a spiked black metal enema. Instead of “Woe is me” written in a tear-stained journal, it’s “The end is near!” scrawled in blood on the wall of an abandoned subway tunnel. The simple, drum/dissonant riff/then drum again of “Prayers” draws even more attention to the madman rambling.

Extreme dissonance and psychotic vocals are what tie the whole thing together, but each song may give you more death/doom and black metal (“Offerings”) or more deathrock (“Altars”), so there’s plenty of variety. It’s also all quite memorable, and catchy. The prominent bass sound in the mix is a nice touch, although the reverb knob on the whole mix may have been turned up slightly too far in an effort to enhance the disorienting effects.

In total, it’s another great Profound Lore release, and one more great band out of Portland’s doom scene.

The Verdict: 4 out of 5 stars

Buy Ritual of Passing

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