Galway’s always been fertile ground for the mankier growths in Ireland’s underground. Its scene has thrived over the years by mixing up the DIY of the hardcore contingent with the more open minded ends of metal. Rites aren’t exactly that, and indeed are closer to the doom / sludge end of the spectrum. Still, you can hear the line of development in there.
They’ve got a clear aesthetic sense. Just look at that artwork – superb stuff, and shown off all the better on the 12″ that this is released on. It helps set the tone for the dark, soily sound of their guitars just right.
After a brief instrumental, ‘Vessel’ opens proper. To be honest, it’s reasonably stock within its genre. Decent, but stock, with the familiar bounce of mid tempo, crusty doom. At one point there seems to be the smallest of nods to Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ in there, which is a nice homage amongst the greater filth.
‘Plastic Lung’ has the most compelling movement of these tracks, with its monged out lilt even recalling a bit of Eyeheategod in there somewhere. Somewhere very deep, mind, and covered in three or four layers of grime. It’s certainly the heaviest of these tracks anyhow, with a pushing insistence and elastic thumps to the low strings. I bet this one is the standout of the live show.
Then there’s ‘Forging’. It sounds the most serious and perhaps the angriest of the batch. It also drags just a little though, and needs a bit more spice. Granted, things pick up toward the end with an increase in speed, but again it feels sort of overly familiar within its genre. You’ll recognise the format instantly.
Closer ‘Iron Shrimp’ is cool though, largely because it takes something of a stylistic break from the rest of the material. It’s opening riff is superb. A huge, pulsating, throbbing riff of ages, which then locks into a tightened, muted version of itself before opening out once more to pump forward. It’s a real achievement, and had they written an EPs worth of this stuff it’d be a solid gold classic. It also keeps interest the whole way through.
Rites have put out a decent record here. Admittedly, it’s extremely familiar sounding within its milieu, and isn’t doing any thing new or even terribly exciting. It’s solid, with flashes of brilliance here and there.
The vocals could have done with better production. Don’t get me wrong, their actual character is great, with proper phlegm and loads of aggression. They just sound a bit thin in the mix, with a trebly, transistor radio timbre that isn’t as full as it should be. They’re made to sound less important than they are.
Yet for all this, it’s satisfying, and hints at the bands true potential, which I can easily imagine to be where it matters: on stage. So they’re a band to watch. They’re not quite there yet, but its probable that by the next release they’ll have found some more of their own character to channel into this doomy, sludgy churn. Til then, it’s a decent 12″ best enjoyed with cans.
2.9 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 17/07/11