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Coming off last year’s Take the Curse, Ramesses mixes up a simmering pot of sludge death/doom through its third full-length release, Possessed by the Rise of Magik. Providing a solid foundation on some of the more slippery, knee-deep murk this side of a Mississippi mud pit, Ramesses denies any pleas for a clean getaway via the United Kingdom’s back roads.
While not the most ardent fan of this sort of metal I can appreciate any heavy music that takes the otherwise calm or delicate air in the room and sucks the life from it in minimal time. A few seconds into “Invisible Ritual” does just that and doesn’t really relent from that point forward. The transition from “Towers of Silence” into “Sol Nocivo” is so immediate and weighty that it’s hard not to dig this record three songs into it. Vocally Adam Richardson provides a thick, pained effort that resembles gasping for air under hands of invisible subjugation; it’s the perfect vocal for this music. I know well that Ozzy Osbourne brought a different feel to the table some 40-years ago with this slow, doomy style, but for some truly dark and filmy music like this Richardson’s performance wouldn’t deign to a typical trite effort.
As for the music, what can you really say that isn’t evident in these malicious chords and thundering bass lines? Housed in a sincere shade of sardonic simplicity, songs like “Sol Nocivo” with its tornado sirens blaring hauntingly at the beginning and end of the track lend a slight, yet undeniable air of despair to the song. This trio gathered in a room and locked into the casual ease of slow, methodical sludge metal so evenly that it colors me happily surprised they topped their last effort so easily. “Duel” is instrumental bliss within the confines of a callous, mocking tone that is only exacerbated by a spoken poetic piece that sounds even more hideous when taken in for the first time. While not insanely proficient in the technical arena, Ramesses makes up for it in the fact that what they create is truly a feeling of mental despair the likes of which are sadly absent in everything from doom to black metal these days. Even the overused or ho-hum devices like thunder and sirens aren’t considered recycled tripe when the context is blazing on every wick.
The production is also quite good for this brand of music, usually giving way to muddy undertows and buried instruments for causal effect. I really like the bass work being a main player in the sound and it is advantageous all through this record. Hints of Cathedral or even Procession are hinted at throughout the recording, but it all remains instinctively Ramesses.
For a 50-minute-plus venture into all things dismal you can’t spend a better period of your day anywhere else for my dollar.
(Originally written for www.MetalPsalter.com)