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Ramesses: Misanthropic Alchemy

Some readers already know about Ramesses, a heavy blackened doom band from Dorset, England. Including former members of the terrific band Electric Wizard, these guys already know how to bring fans a crushing, oppressive, doom. With Misanthropic Alchemy, the band delivers a retrospective of their ten year career. Previously released on vinyl, all the songs are now available on CD and digital formats. This reissue couldn't come at a better time; the band recently announced that they are going on hiatus. Most of the members have already moved onto other projects, including a band called 11 Paranoias that just released a short album (review to come shortly). I never really followed Ramesses, though I did listen to Electric Wizard. Still, this collection is strong and solid and would definitely find a welcome spot in any doom metal collection.

The nice thing about this release is that it's long, offering over two hours of heavy music by a really good band. As I listened to this release, I ultimately felt like there were really two types of songs on display here. The first is the down tuned and sludgy song played at mid-tempo; strong on riffs and raspy vocals, these tracks are solid and strong, impressive entries within this style of metal. These songs provide a kind of signature sound for the band, showing off its skill at establishing the kind of crushing doom music they are known for. Check out tracks like "Lords Misrule" and "Omniversal Horror" for examples of this band at its most sludgy and crushing. I confess that I sometimes wearied of Adam Richardson's vocals. His voice blends into the mix a little too much and could mostly be characterized as a raspy hiss. He isn't bad, but I thought the band could use a little more vocal personality.

The second kind of song was, to me, much more interesting, mostly because they wavered from the band's main style. These tracks are more atmospheric, more structurally simple, and less concerned with the harsh and aggressive vocals. These tracks also included background dialogue taken from films or similar sources. While I do find such effects to be overused sometimes, they work quite effectively here, mostly because they help establish atmosphere without being overwhelming. The best tracks played in this vein were "Terrordactyl" and "Earth Must Die," the latter an example of this band at its most musically simple.

Ultimately, this is a strong collection by a great band. Too bad that many listeners (including me) will only discover this band through their final release, a monument to a career most likely over. But, as one of the tracks states, sometimes the dead may best be described as "glorious."

Track Listing:

CD 1
1. Ramesses Part 1
2. Ramesses Part 3
3. Lords Misrule
4. Coat of Arms
5. Terrordactyl
6. Before the Jackals
7. Earth Must Die
8. Lords Misrule (Live)
9. Ramesses Part 3 (Live)

CD 2
1. Witchampton
2. Master Your Demons
3. Ramesses II
4. Black Domina
5. The Tomb
6. Cult of Cyclops
7. Omniversal Horror
8. Unholy Outburst #3 9. The Glorious Dead

Added: August 8th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2000
Language: english

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