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Ritual Dictates – Give In To Despair

Ritual Dictates
Give In To Despair
by Joseph Hausmann at 05 April 2020, 7:32 PM

Hailing out of Vancouver, RITUAL DICTATES brings a very eclectic sound with their debut album "Give in to Despair". The band pulls elements of Black Metal, Punk, and Grind to create an odd but interesting sound in their music. Mixing elements of various genres can be a tricky and risky business, especially when those genres are as diverse as the ones they have incorporated into this album. While this diversity can give you many directions to pull inspiration from, it can also be difficult to pull them together and have a cohesive sound.  RITUAL DICTATES has released their first album through Artoffact Records on April 3rd 2020.

When listening to this album, I find myself liking some of the tracks and elements put in the music. At other times, the elements used give me pause to head deeper into the album. Let me explain. "Dominance And Will" brings a heavy Death Metal vibe laced with eviscerating guitar riffs and powerful vocals. The ranges used vocally, give the track some serious depth. The transitions in this track are executed well and very unpredictable, making this song really entertaining. Bring in the higher clean vocals and this is a solid track. "Given To Despair" is a build-up track. It begins with a single guitar and then layers each instrument and vocal track as the song continues. The guitar work is strong here as well as the vocal work. The main melody riff gives the track a good groove and provides continuity throughout the song. I really enjoyed the clean vocals on this song. They were crisp, clean, and mixed well with the surrounding elements. This song also has a softer side to it, which I found very refreshing in this sea of insanity. "Invisible Mind" is absolute raging chaos and that makes it a very interesting track. There are crazy riffs blended with heavy gutturals that transition into more groove-laden melodies. This song is one interesting and entertaining ride. I did find that the clean vocals in this track were a little misplaced but that did not affect the overall sound of the track.

"Aperiam in Porta" was odd for me. This one has some elements that were decent. The vocals were good even though they were muffled behind an ambient guitar melody. I’m pretty sure that this was intended because of the sound it produces. The beginning of the track definitely has more Punk elements in it but the track slowly transitions to a more ambient track later on. The clean vocals were again misplaced and made the track a little off-putting. The amount of elements they squeezed into this song is commendable but definitely gave me mixed feelings. "What Cannot Be Altered Must Be Endured" incorporates bright riffs directly against darker riffs. The track is in constant transition and changes tones too frequently making it difficult to listen. The riffs and vocals are well done but the song lacks a sense of cohesion. "Terror of Time (The Hours of Folly Part 2) " showcases the group’s Grind influences. It is very chaotic and drives in many different directions giving the listener the strong feeling of chaos. Normally that would be fine except that the lack of cohesion plays a part in this. The layers seem choppy as if they were recorded separately and then added without transition. Each individual layer is well done but without subtle transitions there is little continuity.

The best way I could describe "Give in to Despair" is “a ride of mixed feelings”. There are tracks on this album that are very well done and sound awesome even for people out of the scope of Extreme Metal. Then there are other tracks that just miss the mark. I do respect the fact that RITUAL DICTATES is testing their musical skills and influences. Without bands like this and the music they create, it would be difficult to find new sounds and keep the Metal genre progressing forward in a new direction. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, and then sometimes it's a mixture of both. I would put this album in the category of a mixture of both. But don’t just take my word for it, go take a listen and find out what elements you like!

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 5
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. It's About Goddamn Time (The Hours of Folly Part 1)
2. Dominance and Will
3. Given to Despair
4. Obsolete Instinct
5. Last Phase of Life
6. Poisonous Proclamation
7. Aperiam in Porta
8. Extinction
9. Indivisible Mind
10. What Cannot Be Altered Must Be Endured
11. Terror of Time (The Hours of Folly Part 2)
Justin Hagberg – Guitars/Vocals
Ash Pearson – Drums
Record Label: Artoffact Records


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