Whiskey Ritual
Narconomicon

Black n roll is a genre that appeals to me greatly despite no one act single-handedly nailing the genre niche. Certainly there are bands that have touched upon it’s appeal in spurts and moments of greatness, but I have yet to encounter a beginning-to-end album that tackles this style and does it well consistently. EnterĀ  Whiskey Ritual to take up the challenge to deliver what the title “black n roll” boasts.

Before even spinning the sophomore album, Narconomicon, from this Italian-based quartet, I experienced a mix of feelings. On one hand, I was very excited to see a band tackle “black n roll” head on. Most experience of this niche is when a black metal band slows down for a bit of groove, ( Satyricon‘s ‘K.I.N.G.’ from “Diabolical, Now“, or latter Darkthrone albums), or occasionally a newer band will do some genre-splicing to create a similar sound, such as Midnight‘s take on blackened Motorhead or Okkultokrati‘s dirty blackmetal/punk amalgamation. But it’s more rare to see a band outrightly wave the “black n roll” flag high, right out of the gates (of hell), so I perked an excited eyebrow. On the other hand, I was slightly trepidacious that maybe Whiskey Ritual‘s self-proclaimed sound could be a novelty act, a simple attention-getter.

Fortunately, the band mostly delivers on finding the right mix and balance of black metal’s evil intensity and rock n roll’s rebellious swagger. Vocalist Dorian Bones sounds like an evil blackmetal version of Killing Joke‘s Jaz Coleman, raspy yet powerful, belting out semi-intelligible lyrics that sometimes teeter into the more extreme snarling side of things and other times shout with a clarity that makes certain choruses almost catchy, like the song “Lo-Fi Attitude” backed with sing-along “whoa-oh-ohhh-oh”s. It may sound silly, but it works.

Another highlight of the album is “Bootleg In A Bootleg”, a song that shows all of the band’s strengths represented equally: various speeds, vocal styles, riffs, vibes, everything. It starts out as Motorhead-inspired mid-paced number, seeming more like a dirty/evil hard rock song, and it doesn’t take long to find yourself bobbing your head before a brief, somber NWOBHM riff plays the role of musical bridge right into a total blasting homage to true Norwegian black metal shredding out of the speakers with aplomb. It’s glorious and anthemic feeling, before one final rock-out and their work is done, and done well.

So back to the original question: does Whiskey Ritual deliver the goods? Do they represent “black n roll” in sound and attitude? Yes and yes. They won me over despite my suspicion/concern over their genre niche being a gimmick. Their sound, or more specifically, their production, might be a little too polished sounding for some to buy into, but if they warmed things up a bit with a bit more of a vintage sound I don’t know one hessian who could deny their craft.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Stacy Buchanan
April 4th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: ikillednoe

    oh fuck yea, this rips!


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