Demo:listen: The Ritualist

Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground metal. Whether it’s death, grind, black, doom, sludge, heavy,  progressive, stoner, retro, post-, etc. we're here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen, we genuflect in primordial fear at the foot of the true occult doom of Virginia's The Ritualist.

The Ritualist

Formerly at the helm of Decibel darlings Hour of 13, The Ritualist’s sole conductor Chad Davis understands that you must do yourself what you want done true. In the instance of Hell’s Doom, The Ritualist’s 3 song demo, Davis has sought to resurrect what he adjudges as true doom.

Towering like turrets of strange obsidian, purple-tinted by the moon yet matte black in the sunlight, Hell’s Doom sounds also, paradoxically, subterranean, as if those turrets are really stalactites and all this time you’ve been walking on the very roof of the earth. The first song “Awaken the Eibon” opens with that knell toll swing created/perfected by Candlemass before working itself into a full-on, run-you-down gallop. Colossal hooves beat the earth with seismic consequences and one can only marvel that this is but a demo.

To be fair, this is the man behind Hour of 13 we’re dealing with here. Davis didn’t get into doom last year after hearing Smoke Wizard (not a real band [yet]) for the first time. But Hell’s Doom isn’t necessarily a continuation of Hour of 13 either. In Davis’ own words: “The Ritualist is based solely in the traditional Doom sound, not hardly any NWOBHM elements. Mid-era Bathory (Hammerheart/Twilight Of The Gods) and early Nemesis/Candlemass have been inspirations but without just paying tribute sound wise.”

That is a spot on description, indeed, but what Davis isn't telling you is how his singing brings to mind the plaintive cries of vengeance given voice by Satan upon his exile (hear: the chorus of “The Suffering”).  Or that, for all its spiritual mud bath riffs, megafauna-stomp drums and eyes closed, fist raised, teeth bared vocal patterns, Hell’s Doom is better than good, it’s bloody mandatory. So whether you get one of the 200 tapes (see below) or one of the 33 CD-Rs, get this demo in your ears.

Sleep on The Ritualist at your own ill-conceived risk. But know that your days of ignorance are numbered. For Davis reveals that he’s soon venturing “out to San Francisco . . . and will begin to set up a live lineup for touring.” Heads to the earth in solemn anticipation then. For here at Demo:listen we are but humble supplicants to Hell’s Doom.

You heard it here first at Demo:listen. Check back next and every Friday for more promising new metal.

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