Review: Ramesses “The Tomb” CD

Ahhh, another sick four-track EP of crushing doom from this UK trio, kicking off right away with the seven-minute title track and its pulsing, persistent power chords, thundering percussion, throbbing bass currents, and completely wretched vocals that range from gargled snarls to deeply pitch-shifted growls - all of which pretty much lays the foundation for what to expect here. The nine-minute "Cult of Cyclops" is similar, of course, in that the drumming is a little more active than the slow paced guitars, though a bit more dissonance seeps into the chord phrasings and the vocals also sway into some monotone singing on occasion. Also worth mentioning is that some of cold, droning guitar lines layered in to add texture really continue to differentiate this band from the norm, since their core vocal approach is already so much more unique and venomous than most of their contemporaries. "Omniversal Horror" is a little shorter at just over six minutes, and actually has more of a chunky, rocked out swagger to its surging rhythms at the start, while some nice sounding samples creep into the distance. The lead vocals don't replace the samples until midway through the track, and actually the vocal delivery is great in this one, also following more of a rocked out style that falls in between gruff singing and shouting. Awesome. A much less interesting 10-minute instrumental ("Unholy Outburst #3") closes the disc, and it comes from a different recording session that was much thinner, which I suppose works well for its fuzzed out 70's styled guitar runs and lightly flanged mix - though most of the track sort of relies on the drums to carry drones and feedback. The core production is pretty damn good, though. It could definitely stand to be a little heavier and more in your face, just for good measure, but it works pretty well regardless. The drums sound dense and natural and tend to rest in the background, while the vocals kind of waver in terms of placement (though never overpowering, which is the key point). The pulsing basslines sort of blend in with the similar throbs of droning distortion utilized by the guitars, and that's where I think some work could be done to kick a little more crunch into the distortion and help add some differentiation. But again, it sounds fairly good, so I don't have any major issues there. The layout is much better here than their last outing, with a booklet that opens from the center and is chock full of weird sketches and tons of pentagrams for a more consistent and appropriate aesthetic. Lyrically most of the content is pretty abstract, so I can't say that element is really doing much for me what with passages like, "Antiversal shifts of omniversal horror, Spectral beasts on deadly night raids, The watch is back cruel horizon..." I could've easily done without "Unholy Outburst #3", but elsewhere Ramesses continues to impress with their brand of ominous doom. If this band keeps kickin' around I really think that one day they're gonna tear my head off with this stuff. Good work.

Running time - 32:38, Tracks: 4
[Notable tracks: The Tomb, Omniversal Horror]
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