It’s been far too long since we last heard from Nomadic Rituals, the purveyor of filth ridden doom.
And ‘Marking the Day’ is a continuation of this process.
‘From Nothing’ is classic Nomadic Rituals. A nine minute number, it begins with a subtle bass drone and cymbal work that gets more pronounced as the seconds pass. Sure, there’s elements of latter day Swans and Om here, but the unease that is produced here is unparalleled.
After two and a half minutes, some feedback is evident over the drone and cymbals. Listening to it overpower the drone before the riff kicks in is utterly immense. It’s produced and mixed to a tee, making the bone crunching riff and rhythm all the more bone crunching.
There’s a moment when guitarist Peter Hunter hits an unholy sounding chord, and vocalist/bassist Craig Carson comes in with vocals that are utterly demonic. You can actually feel hell opening up underneath your feet.
And this is all in the three minute mark, there’s another seven to go!
The rest of the song benefits from various shifts in tempo, some utterly filthy slide guitar and bass tones that will make your intestines rupture.
‘Expansion’ begins as a stop start bass riff before the guitar feedback coats the earphones. Could be an Eyehategod moment. But when drummer Mark Smyth comes in, the song becomes more of a journey through a desolate landscape. Some pedal flavoured overdubs on the guitar give the riff a spacey, post punk feel.
With the drums hammering away, almost as if to emphasise the tribalism evident in said desolate landscape, the riff becomes more staccato and the vocals are more of a scream of horror than any attempt to articulate.
Eventually, the drums drop out for a bit and we’re left with feedback and spacey sound effects. The vocals are now more distant, as if being delivered during a storm.
Utterly astonishing stuff.
‘Far From the Sun’ uses clean vocals eerily reminiscent of Gregorian chanting for terrific effect. ‘Narrowing of the Light’ uses a sample of free speech exponent Noam Chomsky in a similar fashion, hinting at political interests. Both do not fail to deliver on the riffs.
Make no mistake, this is highly evocative music. Through the use of space between the instruments, sound effects (both sampled and reproduced) and titles, the band conjure up a world of barrenness and despondency, where evil lurks throughout the hearts of the people and the only escape is to aim for the stars.
And while you can certainly let it paint images for you, it’s also works as a flat out doom record. The riffs have weight and are apocalyptic, the bass has gravitas and volume, while the drums hammer away.
In terms of the look and cover, the band have moved on an awful lot from their early days. Although their vision of nature and Irish landscapes combining to give a feeling of foreboding has been present from the first demo, this is the ultimate realisation of that vision.
The lichen covered tunnel suggests self imposed isolation, while the mountains visible through the end of the tunnel suggest danger, especially the mist covered mountain at the very back of the shot.
Once again, the bleak world that the band soundtrack. You get the impression that the wall in which this tunnel is a part of is the safest place for the time being.
Even the spacing of the letters and the use of the logo invoke the esoteric, indicating that this is a band who know exactly how to present themselves and it’s just as important as the music.
It’s official: all promises have been fulfilled and then some. Nomadic Rituals have delivered one of the albums of the year.
And it’s only January.
4 / 5 -Christopher Owens ::: 17/01/17
Nomadic Rituals recently advertised on Metalireland. This has no bearing whatsoever on our editorial comment. MI tells you this. Other sites do not. You can trust MI.