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RITUALS OF THE DEAD HAND
RITUALS OF THE DEAD HAND
Blood Oath
(Dunkelheit Produktionen)
39:28min

RITUALS OF THE DEAD HAND is a Belgian outfit formed in 2016 by Isangrim (drums, keyboards) and Lykaios (vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards). No more info is available from these guys, but it seems they have played with other bands from their country. "Blood Oath" is their first album and first recording for that matter. After some research I found out that their music is tagged as Black / Doom Metal. Although I hate tags, their style of music is just that. And I absolutely dig it. It is certainly full of the atmosphere and the feeling that has always been associated with Doom Metal. But the vocals and the song composition have a pretty obvious Black Metal influence. This is a rare mix of musical styles, but I think these guys have managed to mix them perfectly. Production wise, the album sounds as huge as it is oppressing. I was immediately submerged in a dark ocean of drowning souls right after the first minute. The guitars alternate between open / dissonant chords and tremolo riffing. The thick bass guitar tone provides a solid foundation to that wall of distortion that, in certain parts, has an ethereal and / or nostalgic feel. Surprisingly, the drums keep things interesting and varied. The vocal department is the most Black Metal - esque; raspy high pitched screaming and grunting with a curious "desperate yell" that reminded me of Franta Storm from MASTER'S HAMMER. I do think the vocals are a tad too much pushed back in the mix but nonetheless, all these elements add up to a great listening experience. There are 5 songs running at almost 40 minutes, with the shortest one clocking at 8:53. Right there one would think "Blood Oath" is a hard listen, but it is not. It is interesting, full of nuances and details, blurry evil landscapes and and overall feeling of dismay and desolation. Amazing stuff and absolutely recommended! You can show the band some well deserved support right here: www.facebook.com/ritualsofthedeadhand. And get the album from their label here: www.dunkelheit-produktionen.de

Alfonso Perez

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