Release DetailsLABEL Moribund Records
RELEASED ON 4/26/2005
posted on 4/2005 By:
I rarely hear as enjoyable an album as Black Grimoire, the latest effort by one man band Blood Ritual. Tim Bishop is the name of the fellow playing all of the instruments here, and though the drums occasionally sound a bit simple and sloppy, as is often the case with one man projects, the music is just fantastic. Stylistically, this is old school death metal similar to some of the classic Swedish stuff. The riffs are amazing and memorable, and the songwriting is superb. However, there is something special about this release – Bishop allows a big black metal influence to creep into his writing, and as a result, we get one of the most natural and convincing fusions of the two genres that I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to.
According to the band bio on the Moribund page, Blood Ritual is the only true Church of Satan artist in all of metal. I have no idea whether this is accurate or not, and I am not as knowledgeable about Satanism as I could be, but it is an interesting fact nonetheless. The reason that Black Grimoire is so good, in my opinion, is that there is also a progressive element to the writing. Some songs start out as crunchy, groove laden death metal, and gradually evolve until they reach sections of very melodic riffing. The first track, “Invocation of Satan,” is the best example of this. Although Blood Ritual are not really comparable to Arghoslent, one of my favorite bands, there is a similarity between the two artists in the way that they approach extreme music with a particular melodic style. Don’t get confused – this release has nothing to do with melodic death metal in the usual sense of the term. This isn’t a Gothenburg-style release. Instead, the melodic sections are low-pitched and dark, but still pleasing to the ears. I always like it when a band transcends their technical skills to make epic music, and that is being done here.
I don’t want to give the false impression that the music is simple, however. While the drums are at times lacking, they do not detract from the music in any way. Tim Bishop clearly has a gift for writing riffs, and also pretty strong skills on guitar. He doesn’t shred, nor is his work outrageously technical, but there is some pretty fast paced, accomplished soloing, as well as sections of reasonably complicated material. His bass lines really stand out to me as well. Here and there, glorious, rumbling bass comes to the fore, which often provides a counter-melody that is seemingly unrelated to the guitar part being played. A good example of this is during the cut “Ritual of Lust.” On the screeches and howls front, we have some pretty typical vocals, which are sometimes high and sometimes lower pitched, but always very raspy.
The production is perfect for the music in question. However, it wouldn’t be perfect from the standpoint of some people. The guitar tone is totally sick, resembling Grave’s mighty sound, and the mix is pretty solid. There is a bit of buzzing, and on the whole, it’s somewhat lo-fi. Anybody who is a serious fan of black metal or old school death metal won’t care about this, but if you are new to either of the styles, it might be a bit unusual.
On the whole, this is highly recommended. It’s a great fusion of two excellent genres, and I’m pretty sure that people will be pleased with it. Moribund have consistently shown themselves to know good music, and Blood Ritual is no exception. Check Black Grimoire out!
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