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The Rite – The Astral Gloom

the rite – the astral gloom


The Rite are a Blackened Doom band between Italy and Denmark and ‘The Astral Gloom’ is their 2nd full length album. These guys have gone through a bit of a lineup change in the last few years, with A.Th on guitars, bass, and keyboards and vocalist Ustumallagam being the remaining members since the group’s inception in 2017. They recruited guitarist M. Desecrator and drummer War D. for the new album, and as a result the sound is different compared to their 2020 release, but better and thicker. The core is primarily Black Metal but slowed down a bit, opting for more of a slow crawl Candlemass meets Paradise Lost with some Heavy Metal moments from High on Fire injected in between. For those that know The Rite, many know that with this somewhat mystical sound comes a heavy dosage of the typical satanic lyrics, and those have not changed for the band. But, while that style has been tried and true from hundreds of Black Metal (and Doom Metal) bands alike over the last 5 years, one can certainly appreciate the style that The Rite has grown into with ‘The Astral Gloom.’

Like its predecessor, ‘Astral Gloom’ kicks off atmospherically, but the samples used is a bit noisier and almost more industrial versus the typical gothic, satanic style that populated ‘Liturgy of the Black.’ After this fans are greeted with the more Doom tinged ‘The Spirit of Mendes’ and one can definitely tell the difference in sound. Thicker, more abrasive, and despite the throaty blackened snarls, it almost feels like listening to Sabbath more than anything. The closest Black Metal comparison that it can be made to is probably the most atmospheric of Marduk in the last few years. Some fans might be disappointed the band is going this route, but at the same time the sound is more sinister, and sets The Rite apart from quite a few other Blackened Doom bands who tend to let the Black Metal side of things with tremolo picking galore overtake things. Of course, Black Metal is still present here on the album with a track like the more upbeat ‘Under a Lunar Spell,’ but even with the somewhat Dark Funeral inspired riffs, the track is still slowed down quite a bit. Drumming is a bit thick here alongside the bass and guitar, as the band attempts to add more to the Doom laden atmosphere. But, it is clear with the new additions on instruments that listeners will definitely find a reason to come back to this album for its fresh touches, and yet still revisit the one before for the harsher, faster sound.

With a slower pace though, The Rite does seem to push a little more on filler pieces like the track ‘Walpurgis Night’ which is as creepy Doom as one could get. Very heavy keyboard driven the music sounds a bit like it is coming out of a bad 80s horror film, but at the same time enhancing the Rite’s Doom touches. There is also the rather repetitive ‘Naked When You Come’ which is very Doom crawl paced and keyboard heavy, but almost devoid of any Black Metal elements save the vocals. However, those who want to hear The Rite at their best balance of Black Metal and Doom Metal should listen to ‘The Valley of Megiddo.’ It starts out slow but picks up quite a bit in almost that Dark Throne punk Black Metal style, so while still not quite the razor grind riff fest that populated the first album, it seems to have a bit more of the harshness that drew so many fans to the group in the first place. Yes, while ‘The Astral Gloom’ is definitely toned down, the Doom elements open up a lot of new doors for the band and creates a harrowing atmosphere that is just is evil and twisted as when they were on their satanic Black Metal fully driven kick. Still evil, still devil invoked, The Rite may not quite be the ‘kvlt’ band they started out as but their evolution is just as worth a listen for a slower, if not more atmospheric, side of the band for 2023.

Iron Bonehead Productions

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