Review Summary: Dark and in your face. Ramesses hits hard with their latest release, But they haven't put out their best work yet. I feel their next album will top even this monumental release.
Ramesses, as we all know, is 2/3rds of the original legendary Doom metal band "Electric Wizard". Tim Bagshaw and Mark Greening left Electric Wizard due to growing conflict between the group, but still wanted to make music without Jus Oborn (Electric Wizard). They formed a band but needed a third man for bass (Tim Decided to pick up a guitar for Ramesses unfortuneately). They auditioned several bassists and nothing quite clicked until they talked to Adam Richardson (former member of "Lord of Peutrification"). Tim and Mark stated that Adam was by far the best match for what they were going for musically and chemisrty wise. From then on they've had a steady lineup that seems to be working well.
Now, enough about the boring history of Ramesses that I'm sure most of you already know, it's time for the actual review. "Possessed By The Rise of Magik" is a queer album to approach. It balances itself on atmospherical riffs and pounding rhythms that take a while to get accustomed to. This is because the way the band makes their music. The album jumps from one emotion to the other never really revealing its true purpose or overall feeling. The feeling that occurs the most is probably sorrow or a feeling similar to impending doom. They revisit these feelings throughout the album. Most noteably in "Sol Novico". This song has some excellent riffs that bubble to the surface from time to time. Most of the song features slowly descending guitar that builds to small "solos". Eventually, the lengthy track reaches an epic climax that I feel is one of the highlights off the album. Most of the songs on this album build and build into a final enveloping piece of music that almost seems like an award for listening through to the end of the track. But, I really like this idea. And it's not like the songs are unbearable to sit through, that is not at all the case. These songs will definitely keep you entertained if you're into slow, sludgy, Atmospherical, heavy music. And if you're not? Absolutely do not touch this album. This album is a gem within its genre. Easily one of the better sludge metal albums I've heard.
Obvioulsy, this album is very far from perfect. I have quite a few problems with it. One being the vocals. By vocals I don't mean his voice or style(s). I actually enjoy Adam's approach to singing, I find it to be very original. It's how much he sings. Sometimes, mainly in this genre and the surrounding genres, you just want to hear the riffs and the accompanying music. Too many vocals can easily kill the mood of a song, and unfortunately, this occurs in the album. Another problem I have with the album is the excessicve use of guitar effects. The entire Album is buried underneath a disgusting amount of reverb on the guitar. Although, I think I'm getting use to its presence as I dont feel nauseous after listening through the entire album anymore. Just a mild headache after sitting through it all.
The duration of the songs is another complaint of mine. A few of the songs off the album could definitely be cut about 1 minute short. Another issue that might bother others, is the low volume of the bass guitar and the high volume of the vocals. It's hard enough to hear the low end through all of the reverb and delay so I think It was unnecessary to put the bass so low in the mix. And the vocals should have been placed a little lower in the mix. They seem a little awkward at times compared to the rest of the instrument's volumes.
Despite the negative aspects of the album, There are plenty of positive things that make the LP great. One example is the lyrics. They are very blunt and stripped down. Doom metal lyrics in their simplest form, really. Right to the point with close to no metaphors or hidden messages. I feel that it suits the mysterious sound of the instruments quite well. The originality of Ramesses really shines on this album as well. It's hard to find something that sounds even remotely close to this. If you are expecting something similar to Electric Wizard from this album, Then you will be extremely dissapointed with the music here. It is curiously far from the music that was concieved in the original days of Electric Wizard and in some ways, it's better.
The Drums on this album are absolutely phenomenal but you can only expect that from Mark Greening. For example, the songs "Safety in Numbness" and "Plague Beak" feature outstanding percussion that doesn't particularly stand out. Giving it a close listen you will see the true brilliance of his drumming style. Simple, Rhythmic, and devastatingly groovey and loose patterns really keep this album fresh and prevent it from becomimg unbearably stale. The riffs found in this album are also very good. I was actually surprised by the quality of some of the guitar parts. The first riff in album opener "Invisible Ritual" is really good and crushingly heavy. An excellent way to start off the album as the opener is quite a bit different from the songs that follow.
Overall, I find this album to be rather enjoyable. A lot of others should enjoy it as well. I think it's a shame that this band gets little to no recognition in the metal community while bands like Kylesa, who I find to be painfully mediocre, get tons of exposure. Ramesses is leagues ahead of Kylesa and many other modern metal bands in both talent and originality. Listen to this album if you don't believe me. Ramesses is one album away from making something really special and great that will put them on the map for others to find out about. I'm not saying this album isn't great, because it is, I'm only saying that I don't think that they have reached their full potential, and when they do, more people will know about them. They will put other metal bands comparable to them to shame......maybe.
Safety In Numbness
Towers of Silence
(In No Particular Order)
Please reply and give me criticism. Thanks for reading.