FAST RITES: because sometimes brevity is fundamental.
After testing the waters with a smattering of EP, split, and compilation material, Heretical Wisdom is the first proper full length from Albuquerque’s Void Ritual. The sole product of Daniel Jackson, Void Ritual is obviously indebted to 90s black metal in its various forms. However, both urgency and great production help to set the album somewhat apart from the countless acts peddling similar wares.
The production is as lava hot as it is glacially frozen, benefiting every blast, tremolo riff, mid-paced churn, and tense melodic progression (just listen to how that opening pattern of “Breathing Ice” absolutely slices through the speakers). When all is combined, the music takes on a rageful, violent edge more typical of black/thrash, but without sacrificing any melodic base. Further, Jackson’s determined vocal delivery — more a wrathful yell than a traditional shriek — is pushed forward in the mix to great effect.
The album boasts an efficient, no-nonsense approach, with songs often arriving in full thunderous force and wasting no time bringing in the vocals. Nothing is drawn out — hypnotic black metal this is not — and as is the case with “Dead in Blackest Night,” some ideas even end up sounding catchy. In fact, the only complaint one could make (other than a few unnecessary fade-outs) is that the album might have benefited from spreading out a song or two to provide these 35 minutes with a touch more dynamics. This nitpick aside, Heretical Wisdom is a textbook example of black metal eschewing pomp and pretension in favor of deadly efficiency.
Release date: August 18, 2017. Labels: Throats Productions and Tridroid Records (cassette release).