Thursday, 15 August 2013

Ramesses - Misanthropic Alchemy - Reissue (Album Review)


Album Type : Full Length (Reissue)
Date Released : 9/7/2013
Label : Ritual Productions

Misanthropic Alchemy Reissue, track listing:

Disc 1
Ramesses Part 1
Ramesses Part 3
Lords Misrule
Coat Of Arms
Terrordactyl
Before The Jackals
Earth Must Die
Lords Misrule (Live at the Purple Turtle, London April 2010)
Ramesses Part 3 (Live at the Old Blue Last, London January 2010)

Disc 2
Witchampton
Master Your Demons
Ramesses II
Black Domina
The Tomb
Cult Of Cyclops
Universal Horror
Unholy Outburst #3

Notes:
Disc 2 tracks 1-4 from ‘We Will Lead You to Glorious Times’
Disc 2 tracks 4-8 from ‘The Tomb’
‘The Glorious Dead’ previously only released on vinyl

Review :
Ramesses may have split, but their influence will certainly be felt on the doom scene for some time. Indeed, not only do we have 11Paranoias, we also get this reissue of their debut with bonus EPs and live tracks added. From the off it is obvious that this is a band that occupy the noisier, more unpleasant and more... esoteric end of the doom spectrum. Yes, to bring up Electric Wizard is obvious, but Ramesses are a more aggressive beast (Sleep-High On Fire, perhaps, but not quite so much).

To go through track by track is unnecessary, particularly bearing in mind that many will be familiar with the debut at least. The snare sound may not be pretty, but the quirky production suits the material in that it is abrasive and noisy. There are quieter moments here, just as there are some very slow and epic moments. Ramesses are nowhere near as one dimensional as you might expect (if you haven't heard them) and while the material is often rambling it is also hypnotic- in the great tradition of other British bands such as Hawkwind et al. The vocals are in the mould of the Hooded Menace type death growl which adds a death-y edge to the doom on offer herein.

There are movie samples, creepy atmospherics and a lot of distortion (all in one track on Terrordactyl!) and this variety makes the material more interesting than some of the “leading lights” in the UK doom scene today. The tracks often go towards the ten minute mark or come in around six minutes which is what you would expect from this type of band and record- short songs would be a little odd. The live tracks are warm and fuzzy, but no less abrasive, as they showcase the raw grit of Ramesses in a live setting. You can hear the buzz of the amps and feel the heat of the room- excellent!

The bonus EPs come with a more standard (less ring) snare sound and are immediately recognisable as Ramesses: brutal vocals, clean and VERY distorted guitars, pounding drums with jazzy touches and rumbling bass. It's all here, all as you want it to be. It is hard to believe that Misanthropic Alchemy came out in 2007- it seems like an evergreen type of album- six years ago, now, and that the band is no more. A worthy epitaph, then, and either a timely reminder or sterling introduction depending on your knowledge of the band.

Words by : Richard Maw

As ever, show your support to the band by checking them out at the various links.  You can buy the record here. Thanks to Lauren @ RarelyUnable as ever.

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