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The Sullen – Rituals Of Death

The Sullen
Rituals Of Death
by Rory Kuczek at 07 October 2020, 8:43 PM

Hailing from Athens, Greece, comes forth the black and doom metal band entitled, THE SULLEN. Formed in 2018, the project has put out two singles, before releasing their EP, “Rituals Of Death,” which came about in May of this year. Only a three-track-length EP, the band explores elements of doom, and melodic styles of black metal for a creation rooted in rawness and emptiness. Though keeping their idea solid throughout the tracks and never dismantling this, I believe their sounds were too much predictable, and rather unoriginal. This is an EP, and given this, there is a great sum to work with, and to reconquer.

In “Crimson,” a soft grumble and a piano arises from the dark in a brisk atmosphere. Rolling guitars appear crisp, yet sharpened to the ear, with the double kick of the drums beating aimlessly in the background. BEHEMOTH-death metal styled vocals appear over this in an unpleasant formulation. The sounds feel as though empty, and as layers are stripped away from the prescience of the opaqueness of the beats, a woman sits in her solitude away from the wonders of calmness in the world. On the edge of her seat, she watches the villagers pass by her, and she holds but a cup that warms the tips of her already reddened fingers. Burns swell in her palms, and only a scarf keeps her dry. Though the folks look at her in an aimless gaze, she pays no gratitude.

A different formulation arises in “Earthen Sky,” where painless beats soothe those who listen. A memorable rhythm of simple guitars begin before entropic breaths cloud the melody it had once created. The voice comes forth as it did before, but exists in a quite misunderstood format. As the song breaks down into pleasureful basses and the drums fade out into nothingness, it feels as though I have heard this once before in another place. The voice screams without enthusiasm, and the woman questions this in her chair that she drops the cup she holds, and the ceramic shatters on the wooden pavement. The villagers in the streets stop in front of storefronts in horror, as expecting a strong liquid, but nothing coming about. The woman sits there for what seemed as though hours, watching the work she created without uttering a single word.

The guitars begin in a typical black metal fashion, and the bass drums echo in parody in “Rituals Of Death.” The voice screams horridly into the night, and the reverberations from the awkward sounds wrestle with what it wishes to be. In an ancestral fashion, the track gets at an eerily placed melody, yet fails to reach its full potential. Underneath the unsolidified riffs of the guitars, the odd-some notes disguise themselves in the floating bass notes. Familiar sounds repeat often, and newness seems to be something that exists in a fragmented reality. The woman leaves from her chair suddenly, kicking the ceramic pieces under the chair which she sat upon for hours before. She dissipates in an alleyway, leaving her scarf on the metallic arm of the wired seat. The track ends in doom-like synths that disorients the listener.

THE SULLEN’s “Rituals Of Death” examines the relationship between black and doom metal in an oddly placed fashion; the steadiness of the bass drums to the fading of the lead guitars. Their vocals seemed far too gone and predictable to examine, and the production was on the poorer side. Though their ideas remained clear, the ways in which they presented their reasonings were faulted. This is an EP, and with refinements, the project could improve areas in which they were lacking sustenance.

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

3 Star Rating

1. Crimson
2. Earthen Sky
3. Rituals of Death
Petros "Elathan" Petalas – Everything
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 27 September 2021

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