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I gotta say that I have something of a special place in my heart for this album, particularly due to its first song (that takes up most of the album's duration.) It doesn't feature the best riffs from the two guys on guitar, it doesn't feature the best drumming from the guy on drums, it doesn't feature the best vocals from the guy on the microphone, but all together manages to be much more than the sum of its parts. It's a strange little one-off just like the Sunn O))) guys' first band Thorr's Hammer turned out to be, and manages to eclipse what they do with their mainstay again just like Thorr's Hammer continues to do. There's something about this record that just really goddamn works on every level, and gives a unique satisfaction immersing in it.
On a very basic level, it's drone/doom guys playing traditional doom metal, meaning it's doom metal for all intents and purposes, just with everything drawn out to absurd lengths - the songs themselves, each part, each riff, each note. The intro to the first song alone lasts twice as long than a vast majority of traditional doom metal songs. What makes it work however is the sum of individual elements put into it transcending each element itself. The Sunn guys, as mentioned, certainly have a few better riffs in their back catalogue, but in the context of this album manage to sound so passionate about their delivery of these simple notes that they actually pack you by the balls the way you'd expect from an actual metal band rather than drone guys lulling you into their ambience. This is greatly aided by a drummer who does far more than keep the beat, giving a really strong drive to the already unusually (for those guys) energetic riffing and working together to create perhaps the first and only headbangers in the axemen's history. The result of this is that you wouldn't want to have a frontman other than Lee Dorrian, because while he was never my favourite singer, he sure as hell is one of the few who can give a genre as sedate as doom metal the same energy he once pummeled listeners with in the extreme metal bands he fronted.
It's really amazing getting into this record, because for all intents and purposes you're listening to a drone/doom record as introspective and ethereal as any Sunn O))) record, while at the same time it grabs you by the balls with the urge to bang your head. You may feel this as a contradiction on a deep level, as two mutually exclusive impulses urged by the music, but I feel that in this combination the two sides amplify each other because they take on a ritualistic character. Like many pagan rituals in the world involve traditional dance or movement to enhance the trance and thereby the spiritual experience, the headbanging motions communicated into your subconscious by this music become the vessel of achieving the ultimate elemental contemplation without thought, with only your own being in the here and now. To keep your body busy, in the end, succeeds far better in achieving this state of mindful meditation than the sitting quietly staring at a wall that you'd have with the Sunn guys' mainstay. In effect, this makes the sole Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine album their most sucessfully meditative and spiritual work, while at the same time being simply a (small) collection of great hard rocking tunes. If you are on a search for the rare highlights in the drone/doom field, this should be one of your first stops.
It's admirable when bands can create monolithical heaviness without the urging need of speed. An example for this is Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine, a supergroup formed by Sunn O))) with Electric Wizard and Iron Monkeys's drummer Justin Greaves and the great Lee Dorrian from Napalm Death and Cathedral, a supergroup organised to produce entrancing drone/doom sounds with their droning riffs. One of the heaviest things I've listened to by far.
The result of this supergroup, that came, unhappily, as a lonely 3-track album, was some great drone/doom that crushes us with heavy minimalist riffs that we would expect from musicians as good as these. This may seem contradictory, but the best way to describe the guitars and bass would be "excruciatingly strong", with Sunn O)))'s droning fitting well into this different genre. There's some emphasis on drums, an instrument that Sunn O))) barely uses, and Greaves did a really good job with them, with loud beats and even some solos. This more metal approach to drone metal, in opposition to the stronger approach to drone music by Sunn O))), made the band sound more somehow like Khanate or maybe Burning Witch, which are both great.
The first song, "He Who Accepts Whatever Is Offered (Feel Bad Hit of the Winter)", is a 30-minute piece of music about the self-destruction of drug addicts. In the first minutes of music, the slow escalation and dirty background already create a background of anxiety and sickness that are felt all song long. The instrumentation creates a very heavy atmosphere, that makes these many minutes of music that passes feelings of despair, pain and boredom pretty good. Vocals are equally sick, Lee Dorrian showing a guttural timber we hadn't listened to neither in Cathedral or Napalm Death.
The second song is a cover of noise rock band Killdozer's "New Pants and Shirt", which combined perfectly with Rampton's style. Killdozer's heavy and noisy riffs were slowed down and a long intro was added, to fit to the sickly atmosphere of the band. The original visceral vocals by Michael Gerald were sung in an even dirtier fashion, and the result was awesome. You can't say this is the cover of a band that plays a completely different style, even though they resemble each other in some things, such as the pain transmitted and the heaviness of the music.
The last song, The Smiler, seems to be the most chaotic of them all, with 18 minutes of guitar riffs advancing in a fashion that seems to be almost random, slow drums contouring the song in a superb way and many tracks of vocals creating a wall of sound, the loudest being Dorrian's desperate screams. This track is probably the one that relies the most on drones, these making up the greater part of the song, with some vocal effects and eventual keyboards that enter the droning vibe, entrancing drums contributing for the song not to sound monotonous. The track ends with minutes of pure noise, closing the chaos.
Rampton ending up being an excellent album, becoming my favourite parallel project by Teeth of Lions Rule the Divine. It's long and slow, and it will probably appeal only to those who are really into this kind of music, but for those who like some drone music or just doom metal, I'd say it's perfect.
Of all of the Sunn 0))) projects, this is perhaps my favorite.
The primary distinction between this album and other 0))) projects is the heavy emphasis on drumming. Justin Greaves' drum work is excellent, combining unstructured soloing (reminiscent of Orthodox (Esp), or the other way around) and slow, heavy pounding (reminiscent of Burning Witch, via Jamie Sykes). The drums are recorded exceptionally well, providing depth and punch that punctuates the typical O))) drones.
The vocal work, provided by Lee Dorian of Cathedral and Napalm Death, is particularly well done. The persistent rhythmic delivery and intense emotional content blends perfectly into the overall atmosphere provided by the other three members.
The drones are as good as ever, providing a crushing foundation for the excellent drum work and vocals. It is relatively simplistic at times, but this is used to great effect, combining with the drumming and the vocal work, as well as the occasional use of sweeping synths and noise, to explode your mind into realms it could not otherwise reach. The last track, "The Smiler," uses the same riff as heard on the track "Mocking Solemnity" on the Sunn O))) album "Flight of the Behemoth," and the unique atmosphere of this project provides a good interpretation of that riff.
Overall, this is some of the heaviest and hardest-hitting O))) work that I've heard thus far. To my mind, it seems more like a continuation of the precedent set by Burning Witch, with the excellent use of the drums. I would love to hear more O))) projects based this strongly around the drums; the strong punctuation and driving force they provide add a very forceful and confident characteristic to drone. If you like this album, I would suggest you listen to Orthodox (Esp) and Burning Witch for more drone and doom along these lines.
I like drone metal. I'm going to say that first before I review this album. Bands like Sunn O))), Earth, Khanate, Asva, etc. are amazing. Bands like Teeth of the Lion Rule the Divine, are not so great.
This album, although only consisting of three tracks, seems like you got caught in and endless abyss. Every song just takes forever, whether I hear a good riff or not, after about 16 repetitions, I just want it to stop. I like the bands the members come from (Sunn O))), Burning Witch, Cathedral) but this band, is blah. It's so boring it's not even slightly amusing.
He Who Accepts All That Is Offered (Feel Bad Hit Of The Winter) is possibly the most boring drone song I have ever heard. It is half an hour of pure, unfiltered monotony. It just puts you to sleep, whether it's the intended effect or not, it's not the good, dreamy kind of sleep. It's sleep out of pure desperation. It's sleep out of pure boredom. That's the effect of this song. I don't want to hear three riffs repeated over, over, over, over, over, over, over, over, and over again.
The next two songs are basically the first song, only about six minutes shorter. I hear absolutely no difference between The Smiler, New Pants and Shirt, and He Who Accepts All That Is Offered. None, nada, zero.
This album, well it's quite mediocre. I've heard better drone, and if you want to start with the unholy, depressing, genre that is drone metal, don't think twice about this album. Pick out a Sunn O))) album instead. It's way more evil and more enjoyable.
Ah, doom metallers. They're a rare breed among musicians in the current state of affairs in that they do not and cannot aspire to great commercial success. Doom's fanbase is limited to such an extent that sometimes major-label success can only be obtained through promoting your own record label. Such is the case here with Lee Dorrian's latest offering of crippling extremity. Teeth of Lions Rule The Divine (reference to an Earth song) could be termed a Doom Metal supergroup of sorts, boasting key members of scene giants Cathedral, SunnO))) and Iron Monkey. A background such as this is sure to raise the pulse of any doom fan, and this eviscerating debut manages to slay doubts of any 'sum of the parts' naysayers. Blasting in the style of volcanic eruption, brutal in an anvil-to-the-head sense, the three tracks of this monstrosity brace the notion of 'heavy' with cathartic vitriol. Lengthy track titles reflect the running time of the compositions, which avoid the 'boring' pitfall by virtue of the great sonic variety present. Shades of the members' former bands are present in spades: the cavernous undulating SunnO))) drone evokes the same atmosphere of dread, while Lee Dorrian's versatile vocals reflect Cathedral's earliest output. This killer combination, when fused with Greaves' off-kilter drumming, makes for a very unique behemoth. The album shifts and collides in the manner of plate tectonics, while always staying focused on the creed that slow and heavy wins the race. A masterpiece.
Four popular names (Stephen O'Malley, Lee Dorrian, Greg Anderson and Justin Greaves) joined forces in 2002 to create Rampton, a haunting drone doom album clocking in at just under an hour. The first of three tracks is a cute little anti-drug bit. At thirty minutes long, this track makes up over half of the album. It starts off with some feedback accompanied by several minutes of quality drumming. Greaves manages to crank out a nice chunk of catchy rhythms, making this intro one of the highlights of the album. After a while, the main riff begins its gradual fade into the mix. This is as slow and as simple as riffs get, showing absolutely zero musical ability or creativity, but it somehow manages to work. The vocals are fitting, matching the sludgy and sloppy atmosphere of the music. The song makes me feel as if I've just taken a generous portion of every single drug known to man, and my body is dealing with the consequences. Half an hour later, track two comes shambling along. It's a Killdozer cover called "New Pants and Shirt". There's a bass intro for about a minute, and then everything else jumps in and smacks you in the face. Slow, simple, and heavy as anything, it's an overall solid track.
"The Smiler" is last, and it certainly isn't in any hurry to wrap things up. As far as style is concerned, it is played in a similar fashion to the first two tracks: slow, simple, and heavy. That's the problem with drone doom - it tends to get stale at times. This definitely isn't an album that you'd listen to when you're in the mood for some headbanging, or even just foot tapping for that matter, but it might be nice to throw on occasionally - perhaps when you have some time to waste, and you're just in the mood to relax. It's definitely worth a look if you're a fan of any of the musicians involved, or if you're a fan of doom.