Unholy chanting in the dark, invocations of the daemon, bodily fluids freely streaming down the altar. Oh, lusty Black Mass, where art thou? Well, we got Black Metal outfits like Riti Occulti or – again – Darkend that cover this kind of topic. And it has been covered before and will be the subject of future records, I am sure. Then, you got those pretenders with the pig heads on stakes, pigs blood and chicks on crosses. Gorgoroth comes to mind with their 2004 performance in Krakow that almost got them in touch with the Polish jailhouse rock.
Yet, from time to time we find some others, adding a dramatic Borgia flavor to the these shenanigans straight from the crypt. Machiavellian vibes drifting over into my earphones like so much mist from a moonless winter night. A little spice for fun, because all that smoke, inverted crosses and blood risks to bore you after a while. So here we have Deathless Legacy with their newest finding Rituals of Black Magic. Just one short year after their last album Dance with Devils. I remember looking at the promo of the latter, but their 2017 edition just did not quite cut it.
Rituals of Magic is a different story. Horror Metal the band calls itself. And by their highly theatrical live style and theme this sounds true. What you really get from Deathless Legacy is a very dark brand of Gothic and Symphonic Metal with a bunch of Power Metal. This wrapped into a wicked, almost baroque offering reeking of scandal. After all their theme talks about the forbidden, doesn’t it? A highly potent mix of Fleshgod Apocalypse, Lacuna Coil, Carach Angren and Cradle of Filth. All of that delivers with a flourish and energy that reminds me of Kamelot and – in a sense – Amaranthe. Or somewhat of an unholy composite of both. A scary thought, ain’t it?
And – frankly – this is where the issue starts with Rituals of Black Magic. The band built a massive wall of sound with bricks so high, one fails to see the top of it. Then they fill everything into this imaginary brick-layered rectangle to the brim, and let loose. Wham! Imagine the tidal wave of soundbites. This – in itself – would not be too terrifying, yet the compression is such that their tune morphs into a somewhat flat metal avalanche. It is as if Deathless Legacy experience this urge to create audible visuals. And by doing so, kind of stray off course and scrape along that dark abyss of mediocrity.
Sometimes the infamous saying ‘do more with less’ does sound true, doesn’t it? Rituals of Black Magic lands us with a full load of 63 minutes of bread and games with a whopping 13 tracks to the band’s credit. If only they would have rigged this ship a trifle differently and jettisoned some of the weaker tracks. THAT would have had a quite dramatic effect on the quality of the record.
But on the upside, Deathless Legacy serve a much more serious fare than before. Dicking around the stage out the door and in comes some real occult stuff. Steva‘s voice also grew more impressive, if anything. That girl really got the goods with raw power and stamina needed to belt out them lyrics. Or modulate her voice – whatever the tune demands. One of the real promising female fronts in the metal multiverse, although somewhat underrated.
And you know what? For once I can even live with the intro. This one leads nicely into the overall tune, unless other bands where this thing just sits there for no good reason. Yet after raising expectations, Deathless Legacy let their tune disintegrate into some sort of pseudo-Nightwish performance in Rituals of Black Magic – the title track. And that is a pity. The record does pick up some amps later, yet only towards mid-point. This is also where their theatric urges come to the forefront. Sometimes this almost goes the Cinematic Metal route, even if they try to hide it in a thrashy abundance of sounds. As in Homunculus.
Improvements slowly emerge with Rigor Mortis only after a bland, stereotype kind of beginning. The track offers a stellar chorus and an excellent piano-heavy mid-section. Bloodbath in its Gothic roughness is sure to impress. And again Steva excels with her prowess. Don’t I just love the way she halfway swallows some syllables, hacking them lyrics out like a machine gun.
I can recommend I Summon The Spirits that got adorned with a somewhat grouchy 7/10 as the track goes. But Dominus Inferi – the last one – is just delicious. And by all means, check out the video below – Deathless Legacy poured all they got into that one.
Rituals of Black Magic definitely is an improvement over their last ritual sacrifice. And I do like the more serious approach Deathless Legacy loaded into their metal. Yet, the record ails from a certain flatness and over-compression. In addition, a more careful selection of tracks would have elevated this record to new levels of goodness, too.
In the end, the ingredients for a stellar metal stew are all there. Only, those somehow lost themselves in a cacophony of unnecessary elements. And that is a shame.