Release DetailsLABEL Autopsy Kitchen Records
RELEASED ON 10/31/2006
The Night Our Rituals Blackened The Stars
posted on 1/2007 By:
Better late than never, the autumnal release of Ensepulchred’s The Night Our Rituals Blackened The Stars was intentionally released on Halloween of 2006 to sort of encapsulate the vibe of the season. I guess I can understand why Autopsy Kitchen came to this decision, but now as we step deeper into winter, the thin, symphonic but gritty black metal suits the cold season admirably as well.
Of varied pace and consistently despondent mood, this elusive trio (?) perform a solemn and vibe-driven kind of black metal the likes of which Blut Aus Nord, Leviathan, and Nortt fans might find quite appealing, as I have. Dominated almost entirely by keyboards, along with a respectably decent drum sound, the nine tracks lunge along with no hurry, alternating between slower doom and more old school up-tempo charges of speed here and there, peppered with light blastbeats and paper-thin tremolo, accompanied by a rarely inactive snarling vocal performance. An occasional test of endurance comes by way of jarring distortion, feedback, or sparse but noticeable special effects, which unfortunately, sound-wise, is where …Rituals is at its most forceful. The bass and guitars are more of an enhancement, and when the bass does make its presence known, the rhythm section forms a very tight and catchy backbone to the tunes, “Unforgivable” in particular.
To be honest, this is a very good release, but it also isn’t an easy one to latch on to right away. The dismal production is an acquired taste, but admittedly does complement the desolate, parched and unwelcoming atmosphere Ensepulchred set out to achieve. If it had been given a heavier and more guitar oriented treatment, I doubt the material would be as effective, as “Twelve Kingdom” kicks in just enough of a heavy groove towards the end of the track, bringing the more claustrophobic Vampiric theme they somewhat embody to fruition. They were formerly known as The Blood Of Transylvania, after all.
An increase in variation with the pacing of the vocals would have helped to break this album up a little bit, and an additional boost and balance of the sound might have improved the overall product, but Ensepulchred show some impressive and forward thinking traits, along with a firm understanding of how to set powerfully melancholy moods and maintain them as far a songwriting goes. They’re a good band to turn to if Xasthur rubs you a little raw, and in case you find yourself interested at this point, then I’d recommend you just go ahead and check out some samples of The Night Our Rituals Blackened The Stars if you have a few spare minutes, and possibly dollars, if you’re sure this is what you’re into.
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