To Mega Therion – The Blood Rituals

To Mega Therion - The Blood Rituals

CD, Vendetta Music, 2009
www.myspace.com/tomegatherionmusic

Following a free, limited download-only release from the artist himself last year (after the act’s label, Sistinas, fell by the wayside), this lengthy EP finally has a full release on Denver-based Vendetta Music, with a full-length album to come. The artist has built a reputation in the US for intense live shows that bring together music rooted in the industrial/rhymthic noise arena with an atmosphere and image firmly rooted in the realms of black metal. A somewhat unexpected conjoining, perhaps, so how does it perform to the listener?
“Purification Ritual” wastes no time in reminding the listener that this album will be no easy ride – pounding, metallic rhythms overlaid with harsh, screeching effects that continue to loop for five minutes or so. “The Sermon of Setekh” is equally impressive – searing rhythmic industrial that veers into Converter territory in its use of blistering effects and rhythms. So far, so good, but not a lot to demonstrate an adherence to the image that the artist puts forward.
All that changes once “The Book of Enoch’s” pitch-black atmospheres take over your speakers. The gaps beyond the rhythms are filled with high-pitched squalls, choral samples, the odd apocalyptic vocal sample, and the sound of a world on fire, to awesome effect. So this is what the so-called “black noise” should sound like.
This continues into the opening for “The Sons of Asmodeous”, which introduces itself in a firestorm of static, white noise and screams, before another brutal rhythm picks up the pace. Pick of the six new tracks here, though, is “We Are Immortal”, whose swirling, distorted sounds and beats (along with the horror movie samples that emerge from the murk) are never quite what your ear expects, making for an unsettling and punishing listen at reasonable volume – god only knows what this sounds like on a club sound system…
The last of the six new tracks is also very interesting indeed – the epic “The Brotherhood of Sleep”. Well over eight minutes long, it fuses fast, industrial/rhythmic noise rhythms with savage guitar riffs and the by-now-familiarly-themed samples, as well as lengthy ambient sections that, while lacking much content, fit the atmosphere well, in addition to closing the EP in a more controlled style, perhaps, than the brutal intro.
So on to the remixes, where again “We Are Immortal” is the pick, as W.A.S.T.E. dishes out a savage beating to the original track. It begins calmly with a lengthy vocal sample, before weapons-grade beats smash the door down around two minutes in. It’s less distorted than the original, but takes it into realms of extremity that the original only hinted at.Otherwise, Ah-Cama Sotz turns “Book of Enoch” into something very different, taking the original into far brighter corners, Embodi transforms “Purification Ritual” into a tribal-techno attack, Alter der Ruine’s take on “The Sermon of Setekh” is played relatively straight (stripping it down to the basic beats, and not really adding a lot), while Endif appears to deal with “The Sons of Asmodeus” by making the beats even harder and adding the sound of more tortured souls behind them. Which is obviously a good thing. Finally, Vuxnut strips out everything but the samples from “The Book of Enoch” to make for an appropriately bleak finish to this lengthy EP.
As an introduction to a quite unique artist, this is really, really impressive. I suspect I would have to see them in the live arena to be able to fully appreciate some of the influences (and of course the image), but as some extreme listening this will do fine just for now – roll on the album!

[8/10]

— Adam Williams