I don’t know exactly what ‘rites’ this Galway-based four-piece are involved in but judging by their music, they’re of the black, barbarous and decidedly heathen variety.
Wasting no time on pleasantries, they kick straight into this debut self-released EP with the thundering High on Fire-style drumming, scorching guitar and wah-drenched lead guitar of imaginatively-titled intro piece, uhhh…‘Intro’. An instrumental weighing in at just shy of two minutes in length, it’s dynamic enough to pique the listeners interest and leave them wanting to hear what comes next.
What does come next is first track proper, ‘Vessel’, a more substantial number cut from very much the same Pike-flavoured cloth as the intro. Guitarist and vocalist Kieran Griffin leads with a dry, throaty hardcore-inflected yelp that sits nicely with the rough and ready tuneage hurtling around him.
‘Plastic Lung’ lumbers into earshot slowly dripping with fuzz, dragging itself around for a few minutes before Griffin’s acidic bark kicks in along with a lurching groove, driven by the exceptional drumming of since-departed drummer Rory. The latter part of the track sees the band bring the doom-hammer down with some force, smashing their way through an ominous dirge section that takes them through to the end.
The first band that came to mind upon hearing next track ‘Forging’ the filth-masters themselves, Autopsy. Griffin’s vocals assume a distinctly Reifertian gurgle and the main riff has a dirty swagger to it that just screams ‘Retribution For The Dead’-era Autopsy. No bad thing. Far from it, in fact! The seriously swinging groove that kicks in just before the end of the track also helped win my ears over. Again, superb drumming.
Final track ‘Iron Shrimp’ comes straight in on a roiling groove and choppy guitars before kicking into yet another monstrously swinging groove that has me air drumming and headbanging with delight. I know, at my age!
Such shocking behaviour, unbecoming of a man of my advancing years, should give you some indication of exactly how much I’ve enjoyed listening to Rites. Hopefully they’ll get their exploding drummer problem under control – they appear to currently be on their third – and get a full-length together soon.
Given the support of a decent label and a wee bit longer in the recording studio I expect that the end result would do more widespread damage to the general populace than any unholy rites of darkness alone could ever do.
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Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Paul Robertson