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Review

Ritual Suicide – Nocturnal Haematolagnia

Band: Ritual Suicide
Album: Nocturnal Haematolagnia
Label: Esfinge De La Calavera
Genre: Raw Black Metal
Country: Ukraine
Release Date: October 12, 2020
For Fans Of: Mütiilation, Drowning the Light, Judas Iscariot

Raw black metal has long been a subgenre that can only be described as divisive. With its outsider mentality, the genre seems to almost deliberately alienate people and a lot of bands don’t even seem to want people to enjoy their music so that they can remain as outside, or “kvlt”, as possible. While this form of isolationist and misanthropic attitude lead to some great music, especially from some of the “Les Légions Noires” bands like Mütiilation and Vlad Tepes, it has now been done to death and rarely yields interesting results these days. Unfortunately, the idea of black metal with mysterious band members, little to no history and production quality that “sounds like it was recorded in a basement”, can describe literally thousands of bands at this point, and while this is an aesthetic that I like, finding a good band can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

So that being said, Ritual Suicide is a raw black metal band from the Ukraine. Not much is known about the band members and their music boasts extremely raw and cavernous production. Ritual Suicide was formed in 2005 and has released five demos and two full length albums. Nocturnal Haematolagnia marks the band’s third full length album and the first after a five year hiatus. 

I went into this album skeptical yet optimistic, as I often do with raw black metal releases, and halfway through the first song I began to think that my skepticism was well warranted. The album starts and immediately the production caught my attention, the recording quality is really poor, and not in a good way. The vocals were flat and boring and the drumming was monotonous (side note: you have to do more than blast and trem pick in order to make interesting music), there may have been some cool riffs in there but it was hard to tell due to the production. After listening to the opening track, which clocks in at well over nine minutes, I knew that this album might be a chore to get through. The next track, Torture Chambers, was better, the instruments were discernible from each other and there were some vocal flairs and alterations that made the song interesting, however, it was still very unorigional and it felt like a song that I’ve heard done better a thousand times. Unfortunately, the remainder of the album kind of falls into similar tropes as the first two songs, the song qualities range from bad to mediocre and nothing ever really stands out, other than the occasional cool guitar passage.

I was really disappointed that I did not like this album because I think that my optimism was much stronger than my skepticism going in. Aesthetically, the album looks great. It’s a cool album name, the band has a great logo and the album cover is phenomenal (the cover shows a woman in a bathtub full of blood with hands that seem to be reaching up to drag her to hell). I was really hoping to have an album with a sound that was truly terrifying. I guess that’s why they say not to judge a book (or an album) by its cover. Sometimes it’s good that the internet exists because if I had seen this as a teenager, sitting on a shelf at a record store I would have bought it and gone home extremely disappointed.

I often question whether it is worse to make an objectively bad album or one that is derivative, Nocturnal Haematolagina, is sort of both. It is unable to break the mold and be original, and the songs are just not interesting enough to ever grab the listener’s attention. With this release Ritual Suicide really had me questioning why I even like this genre of music, luckily I was able to put Judas Iscariot on and quickly remind myself. If raw black metal is what you’re seeking right now then go listen to the Lamp of Murmuur debut instead. 

Rating: 3 / 10

Tracklist

  1. Let the Blood Flow
  2. Torture Chambers
  3. Ordination of Masochistic Souls
  4. Tenets of the Final Nights
  5. Sacrifice to Those of the Night
  6. Satiating the BloodCrazed Nymph
  7. Unto Starving Shadows They Bled
  8. Pact With the Unliving
  9. The Moon Is a Cruel Mistress
  10. Nocturnal Haematolagnia
  11. All The Blood Is Drained

Total Playing Time: 57:59

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