Ramesses
Possessed by the Rise of Magik

Dorset’s Ramesses have quickly followed up Take the Curse with Possessed by the Rise of Magik. Though in the same musical horror show their previous albums occupied, they’ve returned with a nightmarishly frayed and fucked blackened production that is irritatingly hollow. It’s hard to be too negative though because I kept coming back even when the production told me to turn the fucker off.

Ramesess sound is sort of a death/doom take on sludge. They mingle slow doom dirges with crunchy death metal influenced mid-paced riffs. Vocals alternate between deathly growls and cleaner doom vocals as songs shifts from atmospheric psychedelia to stuff that’s closer to death metal. Possessed… is similar to their other output in that regard and don’t stray much from their formula. The problem with Possessed… isn’t the songs, it’s the production. Reminiscent of lo-fi black metal bands like Xasthur, the record sounds tinny and washed-out. At points it becomes quite grating and can cut through your ears like a circular saw. The sound is terribly hollow compared to the meatier, thicker sound and deeper guitar tone of the previous full lengths. Some of the tracks don’t suffer as much as others, but the experience is marred nonetheless.

For example, the slowly developing doom of “Towers of Silence” handles the production well as it collapses in the distance with a nasty Incantation-like death/doom riff. On the other hand, the guitar on “Sol Nocivo” really starts to grind, its repetitive riffing exacerbating the issue. “Plague Beak”, a droner layered with swirling guitar solos and grinding bass grounded by a militant snare, can be painful to get through too. There’s nothing particularly wrong with either track musically, but damn do they suffer the production. Without depth, without an anchor, the cacophony becomes cutting and irritating. So goes the album generally, with the more straightforward tracks coming off better than the repetitious exercises in droning doom.

Possessed by the Rise of Magik ends up a mixed bag of good songs with irritating production. It’s good if you can stomach the grating production or you’re simply a glutton for aural punishment. I kept returning to it, even though it drove me nuts, so that says something for the quality of songs, but it doesn’t bode well for the longevity of the album. If want to hear Greening and co. tear shit down, I’ll spare my ears and reach for Take the Curse or Misanthropic Alchemy.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chuck Kucher
October 5th, 2012

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