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The recent trend in death metal seems to be the old school death metal revival, a la Incantation. Releases that brag the old school vibe and musical style have been numerous in the past year, and Dark Descent Records presents yet another contender with Ritual Necromancy's debut full length album, Oath of the Abyss.
If raw and dark death metal is your kind of thing, Oath of the Abyss would certainly satisfy. Album opener Accretion sets the mood right with the dirty production quality instantly hitting the listener, with an atmosphere so heavy that it almost feels suffocating. The spoken samples at the background help make things feel even more creepy and haunting, and this serves to build the tension in the song before all hell breaks loose with Cacophonic Dementia. And aptly titled the song is, with the whole wall of sound that crashes down upon the listener, with the drums of KS being the main focus and driving force of the band's sound. The tone of the drums are such that it sounds almost machine-gun like, especially the sound of the snare which would have fitted comfortably in any war metal album. The bass drums are also tuned nicely, hitting the listener hard and having an impact so great that it makes the listener feel as if his heart could smash its way out of his chest at any instant.
Bassist/vocalist JF's vocals are a low guttural style, as if they were summoned from the depths of hell. The gnarling and biting tone of the guitars, accompanied by the chaotic playing style of guitarists AW and LF makes sure that no man is left sane after the 37 minutes of ear-torturing. The influences in the band's playing are clear, ranging from bands such as legends Incantation to more recent bands such as Vasaeleth and Ignivomous, only put to a more dirty and heavy mode. The variation in pace in the album makes the album more interesting and prevents listener from blanking out by throwing curveballs at the listener when least expected, such as the urgency in Desecrated Omnipresence that comes after the sludgy and doom-paced ending of The Chasm. This also makes longer tracks like the last 2 tracks Consummating Crypts of Eternity and Oath of the Abyss not as boring as typical 6-7 minute tracks would be.
The utilisation of various sound samples throughout the album provide some sort of context to the album, and also serve as a transition between songs such as at the beginning of Descent. The loudness of the album (at times resulting in clipping in the audio) also makes album such as this even more appealing, with no compromise on any aspects at all, resulting in the album sounding as authentic as possible, without any pretensions.