Riti Occulti [Italy]
Dark, occult heavy metal has made a huge comeback lately what with the waves of bands playing music in the veins of old school doom/stoner metal. Italy’s Riti Occulti promises a dark and haunting journey with their debut, self-titled full length album, with twisted passages to ensure that one’s listener is constantly pushed to the limits.
A heavy as fuck bass line greets the listener with opening track It’s All Grey and one instantly knows that this will be one hell of a crushing journey, and the slow pace that the band goes at makes this all the more torturous, like an endless funeral march. Vocalist Serena introduces with her harsh, high-pitched shrieks, giving Riti Occulti‘s brand of stoner/doom metal a blackened touch, as though the atmosphere weren’t ominous, the mood invoked not desolate enough. Furthermore, the sound samples and the melodies of the keyboards on the music bring in a psychedelic edge, upping that ritualistic, occult theme of Riti Occulti, at the same time putting the listener into a state of trance.
The crushing impact of the music on Riti Occulti is unlike other extreme metal genres that rely on downtuned, heavily chugged riffs of the guitars. Far from that – the entire focus of Riti Occulti on their debut is in the atmosphere, and the emotions that are invoked within the listener whilst being immersed in this very ambient that is created. As the album progresses, the lack of guitars becomes rather evident, with the bass and keys have a rather strong presence instead, being the instruments that create this sense of doom and hopelessness. In fact, the entire experience was so enchanting that it took me awhile to realise that the band does not have a guitarist, and this is really one of the unique aspects of Riti Occulti‘s music. The keyboards further bring about a strong 70s or 80s old school doom metal or psychedelic rock feel, such as on the intro of Revelation. Clean vocalist Elisabetta doesn’t appear too much at the beginning segments of the album, often taking a background role, though on later tracks she does make an appearance as lead vocals, and her haunting singing easily sends chills down the listener’s back like on I Am Nobody.
All the above, combined with the painfully slow pace that the band moves at and the long track lengths all make Riti Occulti feel like an endless, torturous journey. Yet these are also what makes Riti Occulti‘s music such hauntingly beautiful pieces of art, sounding like a blackened, more sluggish version of bands like Electric Wizard.