Beast of Revelation
The Ancient Ritual of Death

It’s funny how life is with its odd and overall meaningless coincidences. Just recently, I reviewed Unhumanized, the latest release from Cianide, and in that review I had made the reference, for the unfamiliar, of imagining Bob Bagchus (Asphyx, Soulburn, Grand Supreme Blood Court), John McEntee (Incantation, Funerus), and Paul Speckmann (Master) coming together in death metal might. Well, lo and behold, here I am with damn near that exact referencing lineup staring me in the face in the form of Beast of Revelation; though instead of Speckmann, we have A.J. Van Drenth (Temple, Extreme Cold Winter, Beyond Belief) handling guitar and bass duties on the band’s debut full-length, The Ancient Ritual of Death. Along side the aforementioned Bagchus (drums) and McEntee (vocals), I knew I was in for a treat.

My initial spin of The Ancient Ritual of Death left me a bit underwhelmed. I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting, maybe something a tad more out of the box and/or different and exploratory than the output of the member’s previous acts. Though sticking with what you know and are good at, and loving what you do are probably as good as any reason for Beast of Revelation to sound exactly as it does, which is an unsurprising, yet lethal, mix of Incantation, Extreme Cold Winter, Asphyx, and Winter. While I don’t want to say the songs all sound the same, they do all follow a similar path and gait, with none of them really taking a step away or moving too far from the central idea or riff within each track. Yet the familiar theme and musical ideology that runs through each song bridges the album into a conglomerate whole that ultimately, satisfies immensely.

From the very first notes of album opener, “Legions” and its slow, crawling, and earthen death doom dirge, you know what kind of listen The Ancient Ritual of Death is going to be. The droning, simple, crushing riffage seeps itself into every pore of your being by the song’s end. Some fantastically tortured vocal wretchings from McEntee is the glue that really makes everything stick together in just the right way, his subtle nuances and flairs within his cavernous guttural bellows really adds to the oppresive and lurching death metal found within. Pretty much the same can be said about the majority of the album’s tracks, some riffs stick a little more, some vocals twist and brutalize a bit more, and Bagchus’ beats never really venture into nothing more than a steady and dependable backbone, no real fills, rolls, double bass or blasts are to be found within a country mile of The Ancient Ritual of Death, though his performance is  genuine, full of fortitude, and and menacingly powerful.

Where Beasts of Revelation tends to succeed most with The Ancient Ritual of Death is in the Paradise Lost/Officium Triste/Extreme Cold Winter sway of both “The Unholy Roman Empire” and instrumental album closer “We, the Lords of Chaos”, the death metal meets Black Sabbath-ian beginnings of the album’s title track, and the album highlight, “The Fallen Ones”. The hooks sink a little deeper on “The Fallen Ones”, containing an almost anxious feeling of forbodingness and an awaitng of an enveloping darkness. The leads/melodic flairs add a great feel and open the song up in a simple yet vast way, again showcasing some formidable traits of a Paradise Lost/Officium Triste styled depression. Throw in some ferociously possessed vocals from McEntee and this riff driven threnody is quite a looming yet enjoyable affair.

Though its exact nature I’m unsure of without having access to the album’s lyrics, The Ancient Ritual of Death clearly has a story and/or concept to tell. Lyrics or not, it’s strongly felt and conveyed in the song’s titles, presentations, and overall sibling nature to each other. Imagine each track of The Ancient Ritual of Death as an accompanying journey soundtrack to Dante and Virgil’s quest through the Nine Circles of Hell and you might just get a glimpse of how these songs coalesce into a whole that manages quite a lot with just a little.  Beast of Revelation forgoes all the fancy accouterments employed by so many other acts and go straight for the jugular in a stripped down, patient, and most effective and affective way. This isn’t your gothic tinged romanticized view of death, doom, and destruction, nor is it going to ever be guilty of inducing a circle pit. No friends, Beast of Revelation and The Ancient Ritual of Death is the dank, grimy gooeyness of true forbidding darkness moving slowly across the land, devouring all into a forever nothingness…and it’s all quite wonderful.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
April 10th, 2020

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