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Whereas the band were searching for the sound suiting them as well as their songs the best way possible for two albums, they now got it. The guitar tone finally reached thrash metal sharpness here and now we can hear what riffs like these could and should sound like. None of that sludgy death metal inspired down tuning or blurry sound. It’s thrash metal all the way here.Shredding instead of humming. We all know that a sharper sound gives riffs more definition and especially faster music sounds even faster this way.
The only complaint I could have about the production here are the drums. Just like for instance the Acrostichon album ‘Sentenced’ the triggers and samples are way too obvious here and especially dated. The drums therefore don’t always sound dynamic, alive and therefore slightly dishonest. A minor setback since the guitars, vocals and especially compositions really make up for it!
Damian Montgomery has gotten rid off his death metal tendencies vocally and now solely focuses on raw thrash metal rasping. The only downside is this might get a bit too monotone after a few songs but as said the song material here consists of some of their best songs. The band still plays fast on almost every track and only reveal their slower qualities on ‘Paradox of Democracy’ and ‘Grave New World’ from which especially the first has a remarkable good strong and catchy chorus.
Even though the average pace is high and most influences still come from Slayer, Sodom and Sepultura there now is time for some growth in their arsenal of riffs. On ‘’Fall of the Empire’ and ‘Shroud of Secrecy’ some Gothenburg inspired semi-melodic riffs can be heard and ‘From Dawn to Decadence’ even has an old school Bay Area groove at times.
‘The Birth Of Tragedy’ is the peak of their career and everything falls into place here. The band, in the eyes of some,. would take it all a bit too far on their next album ‘I, Infidel’ because of the attempt to achieve more melodic vocals but here we can speak of maximum efficiency. Making ‘The Birth Of Tragedy’ the definite Ritual Carnage album!
Ritual Carnage’s label as a death / thrash band is unfair. They simply play brutal, old-school thrash. They even turn the Death cover into an assault of pure high-speed thrash. The two guitarists keep on spitting out riff after riff – and an occasional solo which sounds just like some keyboard experimentations. They are great at playing riffs though, and should stay clear of the other things. And the band’s drummer drum on fast, keeping an insane pace – and he’s probably the reason that the guitarists haven’t got the time to do other things than riffs, tremolo – and crappy solos. In Dawn of Decadence there’s a lead repeated a couple of time to achieve solo status. It would’ve been more interesting at a slower pace so the sounds can ripen a bit.
Every song is closed in the usual old-school way. Riffing, rolling drums, riffing, rolling drums, pace higher and higher, increasing tempo as to force a crescendo into existence and then abruptly end the song. A little monosyllabic, but so far everything is good – technically. The album would be very enjoyable in deed if the combined bassist and vocalist didn’t suck at singing . Well, he’s producing noises with his food-undertaking organ at least. He hasn’t quite decided whether he should do thrash screams or growls, thus screaming in a growling way. It’s not the cookie monster style, just that he has eaten far too many chalks to do any convincing stuff. The spoken parts sound like a usually decent by strangely hoarse person’s doing them. The other vocals aren’t that good.
It’s not as if speed’s a bad thing, bad Ritual Carnage are too fast for their own good. Their speed removes some of what would’ve been thrashy parts. Headbanging to this would be the equal of whiplash damages.