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Blood of the Black Owl: A Banishing Ritual

Bindrune Recordings is not your middle of the road type of underground label. Often are their artists rooted into spirituality / mysticism. Blood of the Black Owl could not be more at home than here, since their take on the black metal arts is always inspired by mystical concepts and Shamanic themes /interpretations.

A Banishing Ritual is a piece that is actually different from what we're used to hearing from Chet Scott, Daniel Herod and James Woodhead. In fact, due to how personal this music was, it was considered as unsuitable for outside audiences at some point. Different it is, but we can recognize the basic essence that makes Blood of the Black Owl what it is. The black metal is rather scarce here. The emphasis has been put on the more ambient / mystical and Shamanic aspect of their work. This makes A Banishing Ritual quite a spiritual release. It is mostly slow in pace and evolution, repetitive, mesmerizing and contains lots of ambience being created by the keyboards. The vibe is somber, mysterious, haunted and slightly psychedelic at times. As for the heavier tones, a few places we can hear a bit of heavy distorted guitars work, but more into a doom/black metal style, which fits the mood very well. The vocals are varied, ranging from whispers, clean spoken to harsh and wicked, without forgetting the usual Shamanic incantations. The, mostly long compositions (my CD player read four although apparently this is a one 41 minutes + track) take a certain time to evaluate, but always end up into something pleasant to listen. In the end, one could say that A Banishing Ritual is a work of down to earth mysticism.

Track listing:
1 A Banishing Ritual (Into White)

Added: April 4th 2010
Reviewer: Denis Brunelle
Related Link: Bindrune Recordings
Hits: 2787
Language: english

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Blood of the Black Owl: A Banishing Ritual
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-04-05 00:19:19
My Score:

Blood of the Black Owl, formerly known as Svart Ugle, is a Seatle based band consisting of Chet W. Scott (Ruhr Hunter, Elemental Chrysalis) and James Woodhead, with lyrics provided by Daniel Herod. Besides vocals, Scott plays an array of instruments including flutes, horns, dulcimer, hand percussion, baritone guitar and kit drums. Woodhead provides electric organ, guitar, drums and vocals. The band formed in 2004 and released their debut in 2007 followed by A Feral Spirit in 2008. Their latest release is A Banishing Ritual, and a strange one it is.

The music combines elements of doom, ambient, industrial and drone, so suffice to say this is far from a happy sounding release. As a matter of fact it is one of the most frightening pieces of music I have ever heard, so it is a resounding success in that regard. The use of drone gives the album a creepy vibe which is only heightened by the addition of eerie effects, demonic voices, pagan-like chants and an overall feel of general creepiness. There are heavy riffs here but they are used in a restrained manner, giving the music a doom-like atmosphere instead of an all out aural assault. The often slow build up of sound only serves to increase the tension that much more.

The CD is broken up into four movements but in effect it is really one song and is meant to be listened to as a single piece of music. The album starts with "Intent (Movement I)" beginning with a few minutes of pure drone before subtle jangly acoustic guitar rhythms enter the fray, followed by muted industrial style drums and percussion. The slow doomy riffs of "The Statement of Will (Movement II)" have a Sabbath quality and an ambient part laden with evil sound effects. More dread unfolds in the last two numbers with the final song sounding like someone's worst nightmare put to music.

This is intense music and not for the faint of heart. While this is probably not something I will listen to that often - a bit too much droning for my taste it will do the trick when I just feel like something creepy. Instead of reaching for the latest horror movie put on A Banishing Ritual instead. The effect will be the same.

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