Israeli maulers Ziggurat’s debut EP ‘Ritual Miasma’ gets further reach with CD/vinyl treatment

The homelands of many of the metal bands that tend to populate this site probably can be broken down to a handful of regions, simply because that’s where most of this stuff tends to come from. But when we get something from somewhere a little unexpected, I’ll be honest, we try to move them up in the queue.

It’s not like Israel is some unheard-of land or anything, but we don’t get a ton of metal from there. Melechesh, Orphaned Land, and Hammercult certainly have done ample damage over the years, but it’s not a place from which we commonly get new music. Another band trying to etch their name in Israeli metal lore is death/black duo Ziggurat, who have been making noise for three years now and finally are getting a little more exposure. Their “Ritual Miasma” debut EP was issued last year on cassette by ultra-reliable, always-interesting Caligari Records, and now Blood Harvest is releasing this five-track, 20-minute slab of power on CD and vinyl. The collection is a charmingly lo-fi affair from these two—guitarist/vocalist Mørk, bassist/guitarist Tohu—who serve notice that they have the goods to stick around a long time in this place if they keep making music as raucous as this.

The title cut starts the record, an intro-style track that dumps noise, ominous tones, and eerie ambiance, leading right into “Summoning the Giant Serpent” that heats up right away but sits more in a tempered pace. Growls bubble as strange melodies make you all dizzy, and then the thing turns more destructive. The vocals gurgle mud, while the song takes on a classic Behemoth feel as it crushes to the very end. “Blind Faith” has melodies entangling and growls scorching. The melodies are humid, as the storm picks up steam and soaks the ground. Black metal-style melodies interject themselves, as the underneath is deceptively melodic and catchy. Riffs rush back in, and the track has a blistering finish.

“דיבוק” is named after a destructive, possessing spirit, so when melodies are caught up in and devoured by the chaos, you shouldn’t be surprised. The playing punches, while the growls scar the flesh, and the leads spiral into oblivion. The track proceeds to drub you, as doom horns sit behind the madness, sounding like they’re delivering Armageddon, and the song then exposes its surprisingly proggy underbelly. The track then is driven into ash, as shrieks penetrate the surface, and the ending hammers bones. Closing instrumental “Death Rites Transcendence” is thrashy right away, with the drums pulverizing, glorious riffs lighting fires, and doomy muck choking off breath. The pace begins to cause hypnosis, while the leads surge, and terrifying noise stretches and drags the cut to its death.

Ziggurat pretty much are newcomers altogether, but their “Ritual Miasma” EP feels like it comes from a band more seasoned than that. There is ample ugliness, bloodshed, and fire-breathing riffs to keep you overstuffed, and it hints at that the band has enough twists and turns to keep things interesting. A full-length record (which is imminent) from the band truly will tell the tale, and we’re pretty excited to hear what they can do with a longer format.

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