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Riti Occulti – Riti Occulti (Reissue)

Riti Occulti
Riti Occulti (Reissue)
by Erika Kuenstler at 17 February 2015, 4:01 PM

What band has a bouzouki but no guitar, and features two female vocalists, one doing clean vocals and one doing harsh? As much as this sounds like the setup for a bad joke, it’s weird and wonderful band line-ups like this that make for either a truly interesting listening or a disastrous one. Sometimes you come across band lineups and just can’t help but wonder “how the hell does that work?” and just one such band is the Italian Blackened Doom outfit RITI OCCULTI. This is a relatively new band, formed in just 2011, with the release of their well-received full-length self-titled debut album following a year later. Next week sees them issuing a re-release of this album under Nordavind Records, giving fans the opportunity to get hold of a copy of the originally sold-out debut album.

The sound encapsulated in the album could barely be any dirtier. Low bass melodies provide a grimy backbone for sinister sounding atmospheres, whilst the harsh vocals add a putrid and gravely flare that could grate the flesh off bones. There is a heavy Stoner influence that makes everything so much darker and more depressing. “Riti Occulti” plumbs the very depths of depravity, fearlessly exploring the most furtive and depraved corners of the psyche, unleashing a festering darkness that obliterates everything in its path.  It is grim, disturbing, and soul-shatteringly ugly. Even the operatic-like vocals that surface every now and again do nothing to make the sound any more pleasant. In fact, by contrast, these moments of seeming beauty actually just serve to reinforce the discordant and oppressive atmospheres. Possibly the most outstanding track is “Desert of Soul” due to its use of an oft jarring bouzouki which adds interesting Mediterranean textures to the album whilst the lilting flute melodies add a previously unseen and almost spiritual facet to RITI OCCULTI’s music, really bringing the album to shine.

Experimental down to its very core, this album can be summed up in one word: Disgusting. But disgusting in an ingenious way that makes you want to keep “Riti Occulti” on repeat, and that makes you hate it and love it all at once. This album is definitely one that invokes polar reactions. It is simultaneously one of the most interesting yet one of the worst albums I have listened to: On a second-to-second basis, it’s a load of nonsensical noise, but if you close your eyes and let yourself be dragged down by every element, every emotion, you find yourself swept away on a river of sludgy blackness that consumes you utterly.

4 Star Rating

1. It's All Grey
2. Revelation
3. I'm Nobody
4. Alcyone
5. Desert of Soul
6. Bitter Awakening
7. Never a Joy
Niccolò Tricarico – Bass, Bouzouki
Luciano Lamanna – Keyboards, Effects
Serena Mastracco – Vocals (harsh)
Elisabetta Marchetti – Vocals (clean)
Ivano Mandola – Drums
Stefano Todarello – Flute
Record Label: Nordavind Records


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