Is it too early to officially dub 2018 The Year of the Comeback? And no – I’m not fucking talking about the new Sleep album. Nothing against Sleep, mind you. I’ve seen them live, and it really was like a religious experience. I’ve also burned one and listened to Dopesmoker on a certain day in April – more than once, in fact. However, everyone knew that one was coming at some point or other.
I’m talking about The Blade Philosophical, Rites of Thy Degringolade’s first new full-length in almost thirteen years. I’m taking about Grayceon’s IV, their first new music in five years. The same five years elapsed between Chaos Invocation’s last album and Reaping Season, Bloodshed Beyond. Druid Lord’s Grotesque Offerings came seven-plus years after their last full-length as well.
Add Ritual Necromancy’s Disinterred Horror to that list. It’s been almost four years since their last release, 2014’s Void Manifest EP and seven since their first full-length Oath of the Abyss. And just like every other album I’ve mentioned thus far (aside from the new Sleep, which I actually haven’t had a chance to listen to yet), the end results are more than worth the wait.
Portland has become something of a hotbed for killer death metal in the years since we last heard from Ritual Necromancy, with bands like Witch Vomit, Weregoat, Ossuarium, Sempiternal Dusk, and the whole Vrasubatlat collective appearing in the years since their last full-length. With Disinterred Horror, however, the message is clear: the OGs of post-2000 PDX death metal are back, and all those upstarts had better take notice.
I could spend a few more paragraphs telling you how brutal Disinterred Horror is, or how this is easily the sickest set of riffs the band has ever produced. Since you’ve already been waiting a while for this one, though. I’d much rather shut up and let you hear it for yourself. We’re thrilled to be streaming Disinterred Horror in its entirety here today at the Vault, and it won’t take you very long to come to the same conclusion that I did. This album is an absolute fucking ripper – not only the best thing that Ritual Necromancy has done thus far, but also one of the best death metal album you’re going to hear in 2018.
Disinterred Horror will be available on May 25 from Dark Descent Records (preorder here), but you can hear the whole thing right now, exclusively at IMV. And while you’re listening, you can check out my interview with bassist/vocalist JF.
Indy Metal Vault: So first off, thanks for being willing to answer a few questions. It’s been a minute since Ritual Necromancy has put out any new music. Aside from “Disincarnate Machination” (which is also on the new album) appearing on a Dark Descent label sampler last July, Disinterred Horror is your first new release since 2014’s Void Manifest EP and first full-length since 2011’s Oath of the Abyss. Since you’re all also either members of or play live with a number of other bands—like Rites of Thy Degringolade, Ascended Dead, Death Fetishist, Hands of Thieves, Weregoat, and Vassafor, just to name a few—is Ritual Necromancy just the sort of band that’s usually going to take their time between releases? You have played live pretty consistently over the last few years, right?
JF: Yeah, we’ve tried to play live when it suits us. Over time, the effort to get us all in the same place becomes increasingly difficult with work, money, etc.
We would like to produce more frequently, but it has come as it has come. I am, however, a firm believer that the more time spent honing our craft with our songwriting is worth the wait. The horrors we indulge in are all consuming.
IMV: Disinterred Horror is a total beast of a record – it’s all kinds of heavy, it sounds sinister as fuck, and it has what are easily some of the sharpest, sickest riffs the band has written thus far. That slower riff in “Disinterred Horror” with the pinch harmonic in it is one of the gnarliest things I’ve heard this year. Roughly how long did you work on Disinterred Horror? Have you slowly been piecing it together over the last few years, or did you take a break after Void Manifest and reconvene later to start working on new material?
JF: It’s been a few years in the making, yes. Again, distance only aids in prolonging our efforts. Some songs were a part of a faster writing process, while songs like “Disinterred Horror” and “Command the Sigil” have been projects since Void Manifest.
IMV: I haven’t seen any of the lyrics yet for Disinterred Horror, but I’m wondering based on some of the song titles if your themes have changed at all on this album? The album title and “Cymbellum Eosphorous” seem like they might be kind of Lovecraftian to me.
JF: The themes are along a linear path with those of Void Manifest, except where the EP was a scattered telling of our nightmarish undertakings, Disinterred Horror is a fluent interpretation of the psychological torment of possession from the beginning of the process to the catastrophic and apocalyptic end.
IMV: What’s Ritual Necromancy’s songwriting process like? How collaboratively do you write? Given that you’re all busy with multiple projects, are you able to get together in room very often to try to jam out new songs? Or do you generally end up emailing files with riff ideas back and forth?
JF: It’s a bit of both, honestly. Ideally, we want to be in the same room, a part of the same train of thought, as a deranged collective consciousness, if you will. However, it doesn’t quite pan out that way as often as we like.
IMV: Disinterred Horror sounds fantastic, both in terms of the production and the mix. It’s clear enough that you can hear when each instrument is doing, bit not so clean that it sounds sterile. Who did you record the album with? And since the topic always fascinates me, what did everyone’s studio setups look like? I’m particularly curious about the guitar rigs, since those tones are all kinds of filthy.
JF: We recorded and mixed with our close friend Fester. He is a professional with disgusting sound, and his drum production is cataclysmic. All I can say is we lost the HM2 sound.
IMV: You worked with artist Josh McAlear for the cover of Disinterred Horror, just as you did for Oath of the Abyss. They’re two very different sorts of images, though. How closely did you work with him on the concept for the cover art on Disinterred Horror? Between the varying shades of red in the art and the swirling vortex of arms, it’s a really striking image.
JF: With Oath of the Abysswe gave him zero direction and he produced what he did, given the sound of the album. As for Disinterred, I gave Mr. McAlear a clear yet, supremely abstract concept, involving him losing his mind and tapping into nightmares within himself. I told him to use drugs to his advantage. Maybe he did? No matter, he produced some work befitting of the music and the sort of mentality that represents the purely psychotic nature of us as practicing ritualists and complete maniacs. Good job, Josh.
IMV: Ritual Necromancy been with Dark Descent Records for the majority of the label’s existence. I might be wrong, but now that Horrendous jumped over to Season of Mist, I think only Begrime Exemious, Adversarial, and Grave Upheaval have been with the label longer than you have. How did you first hook up with Matt and Dark Descent? What is it about working with him that keeps you from looking at other labels?
JF: Matt and everyone who helps out with DD are absolute good cunts. Matt helped us release the first album on CD in a time of desperation. He came through in a pinch for us as we were about to head on tour for the first time. We had a recording but, nothing physical. He has supported us since the demo and has never stopped being a backbone for the underground industry as a whole.
IMV: What’s the plan after Disinterred Horror comes out? Is there any touring in Ritual Necromancy’s future? If I’m not mistaken, you’ve mostly stuck to fest appearances the last couple of years, at least in the US.
JF: We have several offers and tentative plans. We want to tour around this record, though. So we will see all you sadistic fucks on the road sooner rather later!
IMV: Thanks again for taking a bit of time to answer a few questions. I like to leave the final word to the artists – anything else you’d like to add?
JF: Our reality is merely flesh encasing one’s mind. Peel your own skin and indulge in the shadows.