The end of 2022 saw the release of the debut full length album of the Nidrosian Black Metal band Ritual Death. That album followed a number of EPs released between 2016 and 2018. These releases, consisting of a 10” EP, a 7” EP and the band’s contribution to two split 7” EPs have been collected and released on CD by Death Revelations Productions, on vinyl by Terratur Possessions and now finally on cassette by the band’s current label Shadow Records.
This compilation bearing the title ‘Lord of the Tomb’ consists of eleven tracks, with the band’s first 7” EP as well as the song ‘Señor De La Tumba’ off the split with 13th Moon on side A. Side B starts with ‘Blood Oblation’ that originally appeared on the split EP with Aosoth and concludes the release with the most recent songs from their 2018 10” mLP. As the songs are presented in chronological order, we get a nice view of the development of the band over time. And that makes it evident that the band had a clear vision of what they wanted Ritual Death to sound like from the very first moment. The low-tuned, almost Death Metal like murky layer over their ritualistic Black Metal is the most obvious on the earliest material, and it’s also here that the organs are the most sporadic. Having said that, they are used to great effect in ‘Ceremonial Crypt Desecration’, a song with an atmosphere in the vein of Necros Christos. Organs or not, the suffocating dark atmosphere to their recordings is present from the very first song right until the end. Obviously the production varies between the recordings, mostly in the tone of the guitar, but as a whole it gives a great overview of the earlier material of the band.
Personal favorite songs include the aforementioned ‘Ceremonial Crypt Desecration’, ‘Blood Oblation’ which to me is probably the band at their best in all its wildness and organ-laden atmosphere, and the intensely suffocating ‘Ritual Death’. Although I personally rate the ‘Ritual Death’ 10″ the highest in quality, possibly out of their entire discography, this compilation makes it clear that from the very start Ritual Death’s choking Black Metal has been impressive and fresh in a foul and rotting type of way. ‘Lord of the Tomb’ is an excellent way to experience more of the band’s ritualistic poison, and a great way to have access to the band’s collected EP material in case cassette is your preferred medium.