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Bestialis - Ritus Award winner

Bestialis
Ritus
by Keith Ham at 17 January 2021, 5:43 PM

Germany certainly has a knack for churning out innovative black metal, likely due to the far more open nature of expression the subgenre can achieve when it comes to existential ideas and beliefs. And whilst some groups have touched upon more troubling and controversial topics, Lastaurus and Absorber of BESTIALIS have been tirelessly forming their EP “Ritus” in order to provide us not only with some A-Grade black metal, but also delve into their complicated and depthy view on bestia - to see mankind as animals and embrace the beast within.

Ritus” starts off the absolutely right way, especially for a EP meant to invoke a dense mythology full of intense viewpoints - that is, with a rather light introduction called “Incensio,” which takes the form of a folk-like instrumental, complete with the ambient sound of a fire pit burning away. Immediately, one has a feeling that they are about to be told something. That is, before the sombre atmosphere is broken by the thunderous sound of distorted guitars. It is somewhat brave, in my opinion, for an introduction to be put on an EP considering the brief nature of “Ritus”. It is, however, much appreciated.

What remains are three tracks of blistering black metal, interspersed with wonderfully creative flourishes (I’ll get to that later). As with a lot of German black metal projects, there is a good amount of attention put into the production. While the music is heavy, sonically harsh, BESTIALIS still puts in the effort to make sure that the listener isn’t listening to a bleeding mess hidden behind endless reverb. It’s professionalism like this which makes “Ritus” stand out just a bit more, and leaves greedy listeners such as myself squirming for more.

While BESTIALIS certainly harks from a realm of traditionally styled black metal, the duo certainly have little fear when it comes to creative flourishes. Expect to encounter clean and harsh vocals laid upon each other, tribal instruments, and acoustic breaks - the latter being a common staple on “Ritus”, adding eerie atmospheric sections to the majority of the EPs tracks (all aside from ‘Re-Incantation’). These sections work to provide variety without diverging too far from the EP’s overall tone. Vocalist Lastaurus also provides a far more melodic style to his lyrical belts - following in the footsteps of songsters such as Shaggrath (Of Dimmu Borgir) or Morean (Of Dark Fortress); the actual lyrical content being clear despite the harsh nature of the vocalization. This allows BESTIALIS’ message of empowerment through bestia, one that the duo has extensively dove into, to shine through for all to hear. Yes, this does make “Ritus” somewhat more accessible but not in a way that will totally alienate black metal fans.

For those looking for a powerful viewpoint put to powerful and competent compositions in their blackmetal - look no further than BESTIALIS.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Incensio
2. Re-Incarnation
3. Ur-Veneration
4. Non-Domestication; Fall Of Gilgamesh
Lineup:
Lastarus - Vocals, backing vocals, and percussion.
Absorber - Guitars, bass, backing vocals, and percussion.
O Grego - Mastering, sampling, and drum assistance
Record Label: Vendetta Records
     


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Edited 27 September 2021
 

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