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Chapter of boredom Vol. 666 - 35%

oneyoudontknow, May 19th, 2009

Boring. This release is really boring. So horribly boring that it is hard to listen to it. Ritual tries (or rather tried as they have disbanded already) hard to play black metal, but they basically fail once they make use of the instruments. Underground, raw, noisy and occasionally dronish black metal is offered on this compilation release, which consists of demos and live tracks of Ritual's early days. Generally it is interest to see where some bands started and how their first steps in the music scene were like, but when it comes to this band, then the listener should not bother much.

Boring, this term cannot be stressed enough and it is unimportant which part of the compilation is referred to, because neither of them is able to fascinate in any respect; too mediocre is the actual performance of Ritual. The song-writing is primitive black metal, with simple riffs and song-structures, with excessive repetition in the motives and with a vocalist whose performance might be more equipped for a grindcore band than a black metal one. It is impossible to understand anything of what he growls and often he cannot be heard at all, because the guitars are clearly dominating the music and the production is of course very bad. Yes, these are the facts when it comes to describe the eleven compositions. A little bit strange are the riffs, because their style is not only oriented on the thrash scene but also glimpses from heavy metal can be found.

The compositions switch between more aggressive and rather melodic facets and they are not particularly bad, the problem is rather that the band simply overdid it. Simple said: either there riffs are repeated too much or their quality is not of a sort that would fascinate the listener in the long run. There are moments in which certain motives are kept in repeating until the half of the song is reached; the room for improvement is certainly not small.

The excessive minimalism in the concept of this band makes it a strain to the ear to listen to this release. There too few variations in their attempt and even the existing ones are so bland that these would skip the notice right way; the compositions simply lack of some nice ideas that would not give them an identity but also grip the attention of the listener for a while. It really sounds like a band in their early stages, without much experience and only a vague concept. Somehow do the compositions wake memories on the first demos by Non Serviam, but never to reach their quality. To call Ritual's performance entirely black metal is certainly misleading, because influences from other genres are certainly there and cannot be mistaken. Yet, Ritual failed to create something neat and coherent with these and accordingly remained the art in a state in which it is merely listenable but not enjoyable. Of course does the production kill some amount of the atmosphere and how the compositions are perceived, yet, other bands are able to compensate this in some way and are still able to get through to the listener's attention by simply getting the riffs put in the right order.

This compilation by Ritual gives nothing but an impression of the quality of the underground and what is being released in a daily basis by a lot of bands and labels. Most of it can be skipped and so should Chapter 666 (1993-1994). Maybe my disappointment stems from the mediocre I am often confronted with in the underground. So, fans of raw black metal might want to give this a try.