Label: Transcending Obscurity
Genre: Death Metal/Crust/Hardcore
Release Date: August 20, 2018
Rituals is the debut full-length record from Swedish death metal band Crawl. Released by Transcending Obscurity records (PAGANIZER, URSINNE), it is a punishing, heavy, and quickly paced death metal record very recognizably influenced by 80s death metal and hardcore. Add some crusty and crunching guitar sounds and growly gang sounding vocals at some parts, and you have the recipe for everything I love about that era of music. Crawl presents here an appreciated homage to death metal of the past and brings some new excitement and anger to the forefront. They step out of obscurity. shrug off the shackles of the old school metalcore of early Sepultura and death metal of Entombed to produce a punishingly heavy and visceral debut. Nine tracks clocking in at 25 minutes of fun, just seriously fun, death metal.
The vocals on this thing are nothing short of rotten, angry and aggressive. Lyngfelt layers his main vocals with some backing vocal tracks here and there to give us at times a sort gang-like vocal performance. It feels like being assaulted from all sides, and paired with the loud and pounding drums, it can disorient you and make you uncomfortable in the best way possible. At times the guitar and bass can feel repetitive and recycled, but I think this is a good thing in the case of these tracks – it all makes it feel cohesive and complete. The drums are so loud in the mix that they give another layer of distortion to guitars and bass that is welcome and a triumphant nod to their predecessors. Though the drums aren’t speed metal techy or brutally heavy as one might be wanting, they give a driving energy to the songs on Rituals that push the pace forward and keep it marching on. The riffs coming from the guitar are more of a meat and potatoes style of death metal riffs with some heavy chugging and minimal technicality. The rawness and simplicity of it all are what makes it such a good representation of the style they are playing here. The short length of the record doesn’t leave you exhausted by the end but most likely clicking play on track one, Reject the Cross, all over again – just to taste that sweet and delicious chaos delivered from beginning to end.
Luckily, there isn’t much of a lull in the album. Crawl keep up their pace and produce a solidly heavy and aggressive track list. The second track, Breathing Violence -clocking in at a whole 1:38- the shortest offering on the album, is a perfect example of how seamless the transition is from song to song in its punishing and persistent assault on the ears. There is a proportionate and appreciated amount of feedback to riff ratio that just makes it so noisy and chaotic, only a precursor to what comes later on the record. By track six, Sentenced to Rot, you’re asking yourself if they can continue the pace while also begging for more. The answer is indeed yes, yes they can and will deliver more. The only break in the chaos on this track is to beat you down with a slow and pounding breakdown, loud enough to rattle your guts. A slower one to close out the record is a relief from the sadistic line up of songs on Rituals, and Coven of the Servants, is an exemplary way to round out and finish off the record, bold and noisy we get led out of the darkness by a long ring of feedback that could only signal the end.
Crawl’s debut is a most excellent one, and they have for sure put forth an effort that promises even more vile and crusty greatness in the future. Don’t miss this one, please.
1. Reject The Cross
2. Breathing Violence
3. The Stench
4. Black Ritual
5. Trail of Traitors
6. Sentenced To Rot
9. Coven Of Servants
Total Playing Time: 23:14