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At this point, we may never escape the the cavernous, blasphemous miasma of Incantation. After just reviewing the most recent Dominus Xul album, I can turn right around and review the new album from Portland, Oregon newbies Ritual Necromancy. To be honest, I could spend the next week reviewing albums that sound almost exactly like the seminal New York death metal act. The whole thing has gone officially over the top, and Oaths of the Abyss fits right into the endless sea of imitators as neatly a coffin fits into a grave.
Oaths of the Abyss is not devoid of charm or redeemable qualities: the stiflingly thick production is particularly impressive, and the atmospheric waves of static and churning riffs creates a strong hypnotizing effect. This is the production sound Portal was shooting for with Swarth but failed to obtain, which is a major part Oaths of the Abyss appeal. The rest depends of(I am saying this again, and likely again in the very near future) how much you like Incantation and their recent sea of imitators. Do you love Vasaeleth, Antediluvian, Father Befouled, Grave Ritual, Dominus Xul, Vorum, Grave Upheaval, The Wakedead Gathering, Cemetery Urn, Ignivomous, Impetuous Ritual... ugh. Do you see where I am going here? Oath of the Abyss is perfectly competent and effective, but at this point it is hard to justify the existence of this album.
Here is the thing: Ritual Necromancy are not better than most of the bands I just mentioned, and they have few of the progressive elements that the forward thinking members of this movement have. Oaths of the Abyss is as straightforward and joyless as any album released this year: there is no spark of creativity of adventure here, but instead a methodical snuffing out of all light and hope. There is something to say for that, but it is a mission that only takes me so far. I very much enjoyed Oaths of the Abyss; this is a sound that appeals to me on a base level and one that still has not worn out it's welcome. But one cannot objectively look at this album, one that has already been written before, and consider it anything more than a chant of worship.
originally posted at http://curseofthegreatwhiteelephant.blogspot.com/