Death metal quartet RITUAL MASS recently released “DESCENT/SEPULCHER” (Steel & Bone Productions) a crushing two-part single.

RITUAL MASS prefers to put their band name, album and song titles, and even lyrics in all capital letters, an appropriate move for a band whose music is forceful, heavy, and LOUD. “DESCENT/SEPULCHER” is a punishing, seven-minute track broken into several distinct sections. The “DESCENT” portion features rolling drum cadences and chugging, anvil-like riffs, punctuated by guttural roars of biblical proportions (“DESCENDING/LAMENTED/AND SUBMITTED TO EARTH/WITH MY NAILS REMOVED”); a snaky, dissonant guitar solo adds an extra bit of brimstone to the mix. Then, an interlude of droning feedback, accompanied by a few muffled prayers (I don’t know much about this stuff, but it sounds like the Hail Mary and the Fourteenth Station). The chugging makes a brief return, and then the “SEPULCHER” coda plunges things into absolute mayhem, with blastbeats, tumultuous guitars, and demonic shrieks flying around like winged beasts. By the time the track cuts to silence, nothing but scorched earth remains.

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