Tech Death Thursday: The Ritual Aura – Velothi
I’ve been sick as hell these past couple days, but not nearly as sick as the new album from The Ritual Aura.
- Melodic tech dudes Bleak Flesh have a new album due out next week, and you can jam its first single right here. It’s super intense and gives me some mad Inferi vibes, so I’m very much looking forward to this one’s release.
- Godeater also have a new album on the way with a new single to whet your appetite. Look for this one on September 27th.
- And Hell Followed With has some big beefy jams coming out in the near future. If you don’t mind your tech with a dash of core, you’ll want to give this one a shot. Chimerical Reality is out September 20th through Hollowed Records.
- Blackwater Burial have a new single out with the full release hot on its heels. This thing is just a big ol’ pile of riffs, and that pinch harmonic at about 1:35 is oh so sick. The Prison of Belief hits on August 10th via Putrid Coffin Records.
It’s only been three years since we got new music from The Ritual Aura, but it’s felt much longer. After getting screwed over by their label (*ahem,* allegedly) in 2016, they seemed like they were still on track to keep up with their yearly release schedule when they put out “Keening III,” but then… silence. I mean, not complete silence- the band is active on social media- but no new music for two years. With the band’s members involved in a variety of other projects, I was worried the project might be defunct, but now we’ve got a new album right around the corner. So how does it compare to their last work?
Velothi feels much like a mixture of Laniakea and Tæther in terms of both the music and the structure of the album. Laniakea focused on extremely technical musicianship, shredding away at light speed with laser precision and fitting in as many riffs as they could muster in 25 minutes. Tæther wasn’t less complex, but its complexity came from the shape of its compositions rather than how difficult it was to play. It was darker and more experimental, adding in creepy ambiance and weird, alien song structures and chord progressions. Unfortunately, it felt a little bloated; the album runs for over 70 minutes, and it’s stuffed with ideas, some of which didn’t feel quite as fleshed out as they could have been.
I wouldn’t call it a failed experiment, however, as it has ultimately led the band to Velothi. The band is back to the hyperspeed antics of their debut, but channeled through the dark, arcane atmosphere of the sophomore album. They’ve also held onto all the best parts of their wild experimentation on Tæther, and the result is an album that feels like a true evolution of their sound. It’s melodic and tense, and it sounds like little else out there; take Flub, Proliferation, and Inanimate Existence, toss them in a blender, and you’d have something close to what Velothi sounds like.
Above all else, though, this album is extremely palatable. There’s always the danger of wandering off aimlessly in progressive music, but The Ritual Aura has avoided that entirely here. Each song (and the album as a whole) is concise and very tight; there’s not an ounce of fat on this thing. Each part feels like it’s exactly where it should be, when it should be there, another step forward on the musical journey. When you, as a progressive death metal musician, can make a solo piano intro track sound like an integral part of the album, you’ve done something right.
Velothi is exactly the album I wanted from this band. They’ve somehow stayed true to the disparate moods of both their previous albums and have truly come into their own sound on this one. The wait may have felt like an age and a half, but it was worth it. Velothi comes out on September 1st, and you can preorder it at Bandcamp. In the meantime, keep an eye on The Ritual Aura’s Facebook page for more updates. That’s all for now, so until next time,