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'Ego Death-Ritual 1'
(Dolorem Records)

jools green

Jools Green

mourning soul

'Ego Death-Ritual 1' is an utterly superb debut full length release from Italian Black Metal trio Mourning Soul, but when you look more closely at their history this comes as less of a surprise as they have a string of demos and split releases in their back catalogue, so have clearly been honing their craft and perfecting their sound to get this album just right and have done so perfectly. I can't fault this release - there's so much to love about it and nothing to dislike at all.

Originally a one man project started by Sacrifice in 2003, expanded in 2007 to a trio with the addition of Decrepit covering guitar/synths and Nocturnal Fog on drums/synths with Sacrifice covering vocals/bass/synths; fast forward to the present for this nine track, forty five minute offering which, whilst following in the finest traditions of 90s Black Metal, the trio also bring a great deal of their own style and flair to this wonderfully infernal mix, with lyrics that are inspired in; "The fulfilment of chaos on earth: hate, death, pain, misanthropy, depression, nihilism and anti-religion."

Sound wise, it's in a similar vein as Marduk or Watain, a brutally heavy form of Black Metal that's riff rich and bursting with great lead work, richly steeped in dark atmosphere, topped with harsh, deep, at times vitriolic, vocals that also have a high degree of clarity regarding the delivery of the lyrical content.

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This isn't an album with a protracted, building intro; it just bursts upon you with a drum battery on opening track 'Salvation (To The Temple Of Knowledge) before bursting into waves of intense riffs that are dark, yet have, much of the time, a slight groove, giving very listenable and addictive quality and the harsh vocals across the release are often offset with distorted spoken vocals, adding more dark sinister interest, as on 'Resurrection Through The Serpent's Light'.

A couple of tracks do have building intros, 'Weltschmerz (The Heavyness Of Sin)' which has a haunting synthesiser opener, before bursting into an extended tortuous roar and crushing blackened riffs, a stunning powerful track, as much as I love all the vocals on all this album they are at their best and most expressive here, as well as an interesting spoken sound-bite discussing aspects of ascension and 'Bleeding By Thorns', another favourite amongst all this excellence, which has an impressively epic opener, befitting an impressive, epic track. I also liked the subtle underlying keyboard layer across its entirety, which adds even more depth and richness.

mourning soul

There's also shredding, albeit brief, midway through on 'Chamber Of Bones', a track which also has a subtle Death Metal influence in places and shredding in abundance on 'Moribunds' which opens on an insane shred and gives you a second shred of impressive proportions again, midway through.

The one instrumental, 'Ultima Solitudo' is a guitar laced and keyboard led, a slower, dark and beautiful interlude before the final monster, the nine minute, crushing 'The Judgement Of Gehenna' which has a touch of "Carpathian Forest" midway through with its tortured choking drop away, an impressive final track that encompasses all the great elements of the previous eight tracks in one final closing assault, ending on and an extended harrowing sound bite outro.

'Ego Death- Ritual 1' was mixed and mastered by Magnus Devo Andersson (Marduk, Funeral Mist) at Endarker Studio. The cover artwork and drawings were made by the Italian artist Mattia Mentastro. The CD comes with a 12 page booklet that includes lyrics with artwork for each track and is an album that should be of interest to fans of Watain, Marduk and Temple Of Baal or anyone who enjoys sinking their teeth into a really a substantial Black Metal offering.

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