RAMESSES
"Possessed by the Rise of Magik"

(Ritual Productions)

01. Invisible Ritual
02. Towers of Silence
03. Sol Nocivo
04. Duel
05. Plague Beak
06. Safety in Numbness
07. Possessed by the Rise of Magik

RATING: 7.5/10

RAMESSES have always done doom their own way and it's always been just different enough from what other bands of the genre have done to stand apart from the pack, the ever-thinning line connecting guitarist Tim Bagshaw and drummer Mark Greening to ELECTRIC WIZARD notwithstanding. It is not only a difference between RAMESSES and peer acts, but one that has been increasingly apparent from one album to the next, a trend continued on "Possessed by the Rise of Magik".

The fact that "Possessed by the Rise of Magik" was "recorded live in two days at Stevens Farm Studios" is no surprise given the sound of the new album, much like the cover depicting the trio performing in what appears to be a basement captures the vibe of the disc. But so does the nefarious image of the horned one. The distinctively gnarly, growling guitar tone, the rumbling bass dirge, and a drumming style from Greening that is at once in-the-pocket and textured continue to be trademarks of the sound. The vocals of bassist Adam Richardson are now more than ever what separate RAMESSES from their doom compatriots. A kind of "clean" speak-sing chant is the predominant approach taken — the occasional growl or shriek incorporated for accent — and it does much to enhance an already bleak atmosphere by making everything that much eerier and, yes, ritualistic. The work of guest player Rodaidh McDonald (Korg MS-20 and moog) drops the temperature and raises the gloom even further. The songs flow like a polluted river, often defined by an uneasy, yet hypnotic churn, as exemplified by the nine-minute plod of "Sol Nocivo".

In fact, if a two-word description of "Possessed by the Rise of Magik" was mandated, it would have to be "chilling churn." Ritual Productions is an apt name for the act's record label since what RAMESSES does is more ritualistic than conventionally deployed. It is the sort of music that seeps deeper and deeper into the fibers of your being. Good luck trying to rid yourself of those foreign bodies; by the time you realize they've invaded it'll be too late.

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