In the past few years, it seems like Polish metal has dominated just about every variant of the genre, with labels like Pagan and Godz ov War capturing so much fire from the underground that it can be hard to keep up. The latter has been particularly active this year, and one of their more recent finds is Rites of Daath, who went by Cemetery Whore for a few years before changing their name and releasing the well-received Hexing Graves EP in 2017. Three years later Rites of Daath has followed that up with even more crushing death metal and death/doom on their debut full length Doom Spirit Emanation, which moves between pummeling faster paced arrangements and slower, atmospheric moments that wash over listeners with thick and haunting tonality. While they’re pulling from familiar territory, the songwriting elevates this band up to the level of some of their inspirations.
The title track wastes little time in creating a dense and cavernous sound, as the guitar and bass tonality is very thick and bottom-heavy right from the start and the drums come in with an immense amount of weight. It’s the type of sound that immediately draws one into good death metal, as the tonality is thick as molasses and heavy enough to tear through concrete, but ominous sounding melodies are carefully layered over top of this base. Rites of Daath strikes a good balance between shorter songs that keep the attack at a faster tempo and longer ones that slow things down significantly and let the atmosphere spread outwards to an almost suffocating level. Stylistically it’s reminiscent of Incantation and some newer bands like Grave Miasma due to just how thick the recording is and how much power the instrumentals can generate, but the songwriting throughout Doom Spirit Emanation helps to set the material apart. Songs like “Shrines of Seclusion” and the almost eleven-minute “Primeval Depths of Chaos” showcase some of the best riffs Rites of Daath has to offer and some of them are likely to be stuck in your head for some time to come with how murky and spine chilling they are. It’s great to find these guys capable of stand-out riffs even at their slowest, as so many death/doom leaning bands make an impression with their faster moments and then fall into repetition and extremely basic instrumentation when they slow things down but that’s not the case here.
Bassist TP also handles all the vocals throughout Doom Spirit Emanation, and he utilizes a variety of lower growls that reverberate over the material. While the instrumental tones are so thick that there are moments where he almost gets swallowed up in the mix, the vocals always have just a slight bit of space that allow them to break free at some of the most intense moments and this makes a significant impression with each listen. In addition to the growls, you’ll also hear some much higher screams on tracks like “The Accursing Tongues” that shake things up quite a bit. These pitches remind me of Auroch’s more ritualistic approach to death metal and are integrated well into Rites of Daath’s material, giving them a more dynamic vocal performance than can be typical for death/doom.
Rites of Daath has kept things lean on their full-length debut, channeling equal amounts of fast paced death metal with much slower death/doom that focuses on dark and tense atmosphere. By trimming the filler that often makes this style drag on, the songs keep you engaged from beginning to end and provide some truly haunting leads that will stick with you. Alongside the recently released Temple Nightside, this is one of the best examples of this variant of death metal 2020 has to offer and an incredible debut from a band many of you should start to get familiar with. Doom Spirit Emanation is available from Godz ov War Productions.
-Review by Chris Dahlberg
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