I said this once already this week that having the stench of death metal hanging in the air has helped me handle the chaos we’re experiencing in America. We still don’t know who won the presidential election, and despite people demanding we have hope, it’s easy to lean back into negativity and outright loathing. For just a little while, we’ll do just that.
Actually, “outright loathing” perfectly sums up “The Tides of Blood,” the debut full-length album from Canadian destroyers Ceremonial Bloodshed, a display of filth-ridden death that feels like it was eaten and then regurgitated by a machine. Everything here is pitch black and horrifying, and anyone who’s stopping by for infectious melodies and hooks probably should move on to something else. Instead what this band—vocalist/guitarist D.M., guitarist G.C., bassist Adam Sorry, drummer A.C.—does is create nightmarish storms that eat their way into your brain and create new fear mechanisms that increase your anxiety thousandfold. Though I feel like my anxiety is so off the charts this week that this album is helping quell the nerves by creating visions that somehow are more horrifying that modern reality.
“Command Sacrifice” is an eerie intro cut that swirls in noise echo, feeling like a demented dream as “Primitive” gets moving. The track blasts as the vocals blur the lines of death, and the playing is devastating. Annihilation spreads its wings, slowly driving holes into your soul as blinding hell is unleashed. The drums destroy everything in its wake, smothering and pummeling to the end. “Book of Black Blessings” is living hell as it gets going. Blasting hard through storming chaos and riffs sinking their teeth into sinew. A snarling groove strikes oddly, cutting through guts, while the playing lashes back and leaves blood at the back of your throat. That playing then chars, unloading and blasting into “The Throat of Belial” that has a maniacal pace as the drums just slaughter. The vocals shred the mind as raspy howls strike, and the thrashing blackens eyes. “Hordes of Demons Feeding” has guitars unfurling as a calculated pace does damage before the explosions create havoc. The guitars feel like they’re spraying blood and innards, some of it getting into your mouth, as a steam bath makes you feel lightheaded, giving the guitar work a chance to level you. Violence and terror sprawl as hypnosis sets in, and your brain starts to melt from your ears.
“The Void Staring Back” is strange as hell as synth clouds surround you, and a sheep bleating in the background dissolves into “Hammer Throne” that burns and stomps from its introduction. Furnace-like filth coats your lungs, leaving you gasping, as the guitars smoke through as the riffs flex defiantly. The growls feel like they’re gashing DM’s throat as the drums kill again, and the track tears into a death chasm. “Seven Wells” runs a healthy 8:08 and enters in a gloomy yawn as the guitars work begins to spiral. The senses are totally squashed as disorienting, tornadic riffs blast toward you, maiming and strangling their way into a sludgier attack that is mounted that delivers menace. Growls carve away as bones are stomped, detonating into a delirious front that destroys to the end. “Ceremonial Bloodbath” is the longest track, killing over 8:26 and delivering relentless doom. The carnage floods, sending off disorienting jolts that leave you grabbing the wall for support. The track turns into a nasty syrup, warping its way down rock before a war-torn tempo brings you back to alert. The growls smash through your rib cage, as the playing remains steady and heavy, raging with flame toward ending sequence “In the Depths” that is a strange chasm with penetrating voices gnawing at you, haunting before the end comes suddenly.
As vile as they come, Ceremonial Bloodshed hack and grind through penetrating, filthy death metal that feels like it’s only here to see to it you suffer as much as possible. This is becoming a strain of death metal that is finding my sicker sweet spots, and the madness and insanity feels like it dials up all that’s meant to make one feel dead inside. This is relentless and bloodthirsty, the ideal death metal record for when you’re at your lowest, and the only answer is unfiltered morbidity.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ceremonialbloodbath
To buy the album, go here: http://sentientruin.com/releases/ceremonial-bloodbath-the-tides-of-blood
For more on the label, go here: http://sentientruin.com/