Portland is a land known for a few things. You’ve got gray weather, rain storms, the occasional forest fire, boutique/artisanal/bespoke type crafts, that show Portlandia which makes fun of all the aforementioned things and, of course, stoner metal. Probably because of all the dispensaries basically handing out edibles at the airport. A population of people dedicated to alternative lifestyles, remaining comfortably numb and disassociated via numerous ingestion methods for both CBD and THC. But even in that vast landscape, seemingly bereft of more aggressive styles and stances, a vicious weed can grow, appearing above the charcoal-laden soil built for maximum drainage and filtering.
That weed is none other than vile purveyors of deadly metals, Ritual Necromancy. With thorny roots touching other West Coast death outfits like Ascended Dead, Weregoat, Death Fetishist, Knelt Rote, Burials, Wroth and more, these credentialed heathens have not only the desire to buck trends but the ability — and the clout — to do so successfully. And if you’re going to walk the path of riff-laden death metal cloaked in murky production and accented by effects-heavy lead guitar lines, you sure as hell better do it well lest ye be cast into the pit of anonymity.
Ritual Necromancy is deeply entrenched in the newer sound of death metal. Riffs upon riffs stack like a cord of wood destined for the furnace; vocals are deep, guttural and wholly unsettling across the entire LP. The delivery of JF is constant and monotonous, evoking sounds of the Danish metal scene, something that works very well at lower registers (as is the case with Ritual Necromancy) but can become very annoying when vocalists choose higher registers. While monotonous and plodding, the vocals are a perfect accompaniment to the active bass lines.
One of the more interesting trends in death metal, highlighted and used with particular genius effect across Disinterred Horror, is the inclusion of background noise. Above and beyond the standard cavernous reverb that frequents so much death metal production today, soft voices and moans, as well as grounding noises ripple throughout the undercurrent of the album. It’s a subtle touch that goes a long way towards building the sombre, graveyard-like ambiance that dominates Disinterred Horror.
Death metal is alive and well. It’s something that writers keep pointing out over the last few years (maybe since late 2016), and we might actually be looking at a resurgence of quality akin fo the 1991-1994 birth of the genre. Ritual Necromancy might not be the solo general leading the charge, but they certainly maintain a spot in the thick vanguard of the movement. Disinterred Horror represents an album that is both immediately enjoyable and one that has the ability to grow with each spin as the listener finds something new in the background (particularly on “Cymbellum Eosphorous”). It’s crucial that bands of this caliber continue to get coverage and respect for keeping the flame of death metal alight, for, without death metal, we would all suffer a fate worse than death.