Tech Death Thursday: The Forbidden Ritual
All riffs, no nonsense. This week we’re checking out the debut from The Forbidden Ritual.
- Cryptopsy will be playing None So Vile in full on the upcoming “Devastation on the Nation” tour. Since you’re now making plans to see this tour, you can find the dates here.
- Contrarian have lived up to their namesake by releasing a new song that sounds nothing like Polemic. Check out the title track from To Perceive Is To Suffer here , and look for the full album on July 28th.
- It feels like forever since we’ve gotten anything from Enfold Darkness, but they just put out a little snippet of new material you can check out here (cinematography by Oliver Wood).
- Harbinger is not a band I’m terribly familiar with, but their new song makes me think I should pay attention. Look for Human Dust on June 16th.
- Cytotoxin put out a guitar-focused studio update with a pretty fair amount of new riffage. I really like what I hear so far. No word on a release date yet.
- Minnesota’s Aetheric have a new album due out on June 16th, and you can check out a pair of new tunes at their Bandcamp page. It’s super melodic, giving me an Alterbeast vibe from some of the faster parts with some groovy bits thrown in for good measure. I dig.
This week’s selection came to me by Jack Bauer’s recommendation, describing it as being like “Psycroptic without the heinous vocals.” While I might not agree with his opinion of Peppiatt’s voice, the rest of that statement is undeniably true; Tearfrost is some mighty angry, mighty riffy tech death that will almost certainly appeal to fans of their Australian counterparts. However, while the overall tone and feel of the two bands are similar, the way they approach that sound is fairly different.
For starters, The Forbidden Ritual don’t rely as much on raw speed as Psycroptic. The melodic ideas are very much in the same vein- vicious minor-key attacks with the occasional Phrygian flourish and some diminished bits for flavor- but whereas Psycroptic’s speed lets them blast through a multitude of these ideas in each song, The Forbidden Ritual take their time building them up. They play the low to mid tempo range quite well; the drums never lose their ferocity, even while the guitar might just be holding out chords, and it’s fairly easy to follow the strings without feeling like you’re trying to undo a tangle of notes. This lower speed results in a more filled-out as well, utilizing big chords and the occasional lead to give the music some girth. While this isn’t really a groundbreaking concept, it adds a little more personal flavor to a style that has largely already been explored.
Another key difference between the two is the use of clean guitars. Psycroptic’s cleans have a bit of a Spanish feel to them and are largely used to set up or finish a song. The clean guitars on Tearfrost have a much greater presence and give off a somber vibe, particularly on “Lake of The Decayed,” in which they back a wonderfully soulful guitar solo. The opening theme they establish in the beginning of “Petrichor” (which sounds not unlike Virvum’s “Illuminance”) is built up and used to drive forward the first half of the song, eventually being revisited after a thrashy interlude. It feels like they’re more connected to the music rather than just being window dressing for something bigger. Again, this isn’t anything new, but it’s refreshing to hear acoustic and clean guitars as more than a short intro unrelated to the song at large.
Tearfrost is an impressive debut; beyond being well-written and having good production, The Forbidden Ritual’s style stands out in the tech death landscape. They wear their influences on their sleeves to be sure, but it’s refreshing hearing a new tech death band whose primary point of reference isn’t Necrophagist or The Faceless. It’s tight and compact, clocking in at a lean 30 minutes and filling all of that space with quality riffs. If you’ve been looking for something fast and angry that you can bang your head to, then look no further.
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