|Atriarch - Ritual Of Passing
30 October 2012
07. Outro (Lucifer Speaks With Death)
If you happened to stumble upon my review of Evoken's Atra Mors and the ridiculous (yet amusing) genre debate that it spawned, perhaps you saw, then, someone note that in the category of metal crossovers, the genre on the right of the stylistic label is implied to take dominance. For example, blackened thrash leans more towards thrash, progressive death more towards death, and so forth and so on. Within the category of blackened doom metal however, this rule tends to fall short, the large majority of blackened doom bands actually going more towards black metal than doom. (Dolorian, The Ruins Of Beverast, Alkerdeel, to name a few.) Atriarch, however, actually adhere to the guideline, and are much more so a doom metal band with black metal elements than vice versa, their latest offering, 2012's Ritual Of Passing, being excellent testament to this fact.
As the Illuminati-style eye on the album's cover implies, Ritual Of Passing is a very haunting, mesmerizing, and occult-themed album. So what better stylistic fusion to go with than blackened doom metal, a combination of what are perhaps the two most haunting stylistic divisions of metal? The music is groove-laden, heavy, and melancholic, accentuating such elements almost perfectly, creating an impressively executed atmosphere of mystery-soaked despair and lamentation. As I said, the doom metal elements take precedence, especially as far as the pleasantly-audible bass is concerned (see the intro to "Prayer" and the middle of "Altruist" in particular). The black metal elements, although taking something of a back seat, are indeed present as well, however, notably on "Altars" and "Offerings."
But what truly sells the package of Ritual Of Passing, and makes the music "complete," so to speak, is vocalist Lenny Smith, who seriously must be applauded for his outstanding blend of classic black metal shrieks, clean vocals that honestly sound like they could be placed in a classic stoner metal band, and his harmonic, almost operatic drones that are sprinkled in here and there as well (2 minute mark of "Altruist," and on "Cursed"). Additionally, Ritual Of Passing also has a few moments of unmelodic, spoken vocals, which really help to bring out the occult vibe of the album, because Smith's delivery of them really sounds like the kind of tone a sorcerer would take when conjuring some sort of black magic spell! The man has talent, to say the least.
In essence, Ritual Of Passing is more of an album for doom metal fans, yet black metal fans will surely enjoy it as well for the occult themes and Atriarch's subtle wanderings into the latter style. Epic, ensnaring, and a bit fun as well: that's the best way to describe this album. The music has a very cohesive vibe to it, and much like Oranssi Pazuzu's, feels like something of a cocoon that encases the listener and doesn't let them escape until the album's finish. This is definitely not an album to pass up, especially for metal fans that like their genre's recipe served with a splash of strange, yet effective, originality. So what are you guys waiting for? Get on it!