Review: Ritual Master - Obscurus

It’s a rare occasion that I decide to review a recent album, but this year’s Metal March at CJLO has proven to be such a time. As such, I have decided to take a look at an EP released earlier this year by Montreal locals Ritual Master, entitled Obscurus. I’m a real sucker for metal albums that use Old English font on their covers, so this one piqued my interest from the get-go.

The EP, which consists of three songs plus an intro and an outro track, presents a new, young band full of promise. The tunes lumber forth with downtuned and doomy guitar riffs reminiscent of 80s Candlemass as well as early Cathedral, accompanied by retching black metal vocals. Given the singer’s performance on the outro track, I think it’s safe to state that Attila Csihar of Mayhem and Sunn 0))) were sizeable influences in this department. The bass is fairly faithful to the guitar lines, and there is also a consistent keyboard presence throughout.

I particularly enjoy this old-school take on blackened doom metal, as I’m often reminded during Obscurus’ run time of a number of first-to-second wave black metal artists, particularly of early releases by Czech groups such as Root or Master’s Hammer. It’s a real cult (kvlt?) sound that I’m happy to hear from newer groups, and it’s quite a bit different from the usual Montreal metal scene fare. I find the production to be quite fitting to the music, and if anything, it could be even more raw, filthy, and necro-sounding. While I find that the keyboards follow the guitar a little too closely at times, it is nevertheless an overall good EP with catchy riffs and morose feeling. It’s worth a listen.