By Matt Hinch
Atriarch’s Ritual of Passing is not a complacent album. One should not just put it on as background music. While it would serve perfectly well to destroy silence, the lyrical content begs that Ritual of Passing be more than merely a passive experience. Themes such as the falsehood of faith and atrophy of morals serve as the narrative to the brooding yet chaotic backdrop.
Sonically the album is warm and off-putting and uncomfortable. The production is somewhat muddy with a feeling of static yet nothing seems unclear. With doom at its core and black metal leanings, Ritual’s atmosphere is one of disgruntled despair. The tracks remain relatively short but have multiple facets. For all that apparent chaos the structure is apparent enough that you know this is all carefully planned. The energy level may fluctuate as well but the commitment to the message is never in question.
Vocalist Lenny employs a varying repertoire of voices to relay is thoughts. Shouting, screaming, chanting and dictating, he demands your attention. This style may take some getting used to but while soaking in the introspection, the desperation and honesty, one gains an appreciation for his performance. Joining forces with guitarist Brooks, drummer Maxamillion and bassist Damon, (possibly the best bass tone and lines I’ve heard in ages!) Atriarch makes a compelling case for their somewhat conspiratorial declarations. In short, they make the listener believe, with passion, that the veil must be lifted on what we are told to believe is true. The truth is hidden from us and we must rise and fight the forces that would use us like so much livestock.
A complete package, the score is just as brilliant as the screenplay. But this is no movie. This is a call to arms. Cacophonous riffs, dirgy movements, and uplifting crescendos rally the heart. As dark as the album makes you feel, love and positivity bubble to the surface. Ritual of Passing is dirty, atmospheric, unsettling and cerebral. Turn down the lights, light some candles and really listen.