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Ramesses - Possessed by the Rise of Magick [Ritual Productions - 2011]

Ramesses was founded by Mark Greening and Tim Bagshaw, former drummer and bass player respectively from the massively popular and influential doom metal band Electric Wizard. For those who are unfamiliar with Ramesses sound, they are an uncompromising and heavy as hell outfit, still playing around in the realm of doom/sludge metal akin to their former band, but don’t pick up this album expecting anything similar to Electric Wizard at all.

‘Invisible Ritual’ kicks off the album in fine fashion, an overriding blackened edge infiltrates the doom laden riffage and combining that with a very lo-fi sound successfully gives the whole track a very raw and uncompromising feel. Similarities that instantly spring to mind are old school sludge acts such as Eyehategod and Iron Monkey, albeit presented in a more off-kilter fashion here…

‘Towers of Silence’ slows down the pace set by the opening track, there is a passing resemblance in feel to ‘Planet Caravan’ by the mighty Sabbath, playing with washed out vocals and a smoke ridden bluesy influence, whilst retaining the black metal feel to the guitar sound with the buzzy top end, all of this underpinned by heavy, discordant  bass. There’s even a gothic feel similar to Paradise Lost's earlier work that creeps in from time to time. Air raid sirens ring out as ‘Sol Nocivo’ comes to life, lumbering riffs drop in, accompanied by more prominent guttural vocals, there are a hell of a lot of influences in these first handful of tracks alone...a dash of Neurosis springs to mind here. A segue during the track drops into a nice black metal esque passage with high pitched guitar pinned down by the slack bass strings, dirty and downer ridden, a big dose of alcohol and valium may go some way to describe the overall effect of the track. Failure and resulting squalor, your slow and inevitable demise and decent into sweet narcotic laced oblivion, the sirens announcing the end of existence...

‘Plague Bleak’ brings in a singular slow and heavy repeating riff, an expectant feeling building all the while with each sequential repetition. Martial drums provide the back bone of the track, before bringing in a more psychedelic influence via the guitar whilst the vocals deliver a sermon to the worshippers in attendance to some dark, depraved symphony...hypnotic. ‘Duel’ and ‘Safety in Numbness’ explore the Krautrock/Psych influences even further before dropping back into more traditional doom territories. I can’t help but feel that these tracks are more just album filler when compared to the more rounded tracks that proceeded.

Similar to the previous couple of tracks ‘Possessed By the Rise of Magik’ brings in more psyched out influence together with very mournful and depressive vocals before being hit with nice heavy guitar slabs that gives a lot of impact to the track…quite an epic song and a fitting closer, successfully leaving you wanting more. Overall though there are so many influences on display throughout the album that all the tracks don’t feel to sit particularly well as a whole, feeling a bit all over the place at points. ‘Possessed by the Rise of Magik’ is not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, but I definitely get the impression that Ramesses are still in the process of refining their sound and this offering falls short for that reason.

Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5Rating: 3 out of 5

Todd Robinson
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