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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.
originally written for http://fullmetalattorney.blogspot.com/
Ramesses is a band I'm not entirely familiar with, however I love the band. With sludge, doom and psychedelic metal at their peaks right now, it's no wonder many new bands are coming around. Bands like Struck by Lightning and Ramesses are popping up all over the metal radar, and it's a pleasure to hear new talent. Ramesses isn't technically a "new" band, but as they haven't been around for too terribly long, I still consider them relatively new.
I first heard of Ramesses after asking a friend of mine who loves sludge and doom metal for recommendations on the genres. The first band he said was Ramesses, followed by Acid Witch. I can say that Ramesses was a great addition to the music I listen to, and easily snaked its way into my top 50 bands of all time. This new record just proves that they can do so much with their music and it's an amazing thing to see a band hit sounds reminiscent of Electric Wizard, Acid Bath, Eyehategod and early Doom. I was extremely impressed with the new record.
It starts off with a faster paced track then the rest of the album follows, but it's probably one of the better tracks on the album. The drums focus on a simplistic blues beat and follow a progressive fill. It's mostly like many of the other drums in doom metal. In fact I think drums in doom metal is the weak point. The only band that astounds me in doom is Minsk. To be honest the music is pretty weak, but it fits perfectly. I would say that even though you may not like the music that Ramesses play, you can at least give them the fact that they are always on time with one another. It's relatively hard to find bands like that these days.
The Vocals follow both blues oriented doom and death oriented doom, being that they hit growls and melodic vocals. In fact, the track, "Terrasaw" uses the Acid Bath technique with growling over the singing. It's a surreal sound to the music. Many of the songs flow together, so the record can be boring at times, but I still think it fits the mood to chill out and listen to with a few friends, especially if those friends love doom metal.
Highlights: Iron Crow, Black Hash Mass, Take the Curse, Another Skeleton