While the one-man black metal jam, usually playing the lowest of the lo-fi, became a somewhat popular trend in the 90s, the concept of putting together an album all by your lonesome remained a very large anomaly in other extreme genres. But as time and technology moved forward the idea of putting together something completely unholy on your own time has become a slightly more attractive option. Enter Ritual Chamber mastermind Dario Derna. After putting together a rap sheet that reads as a who’s who of extreme, underground metal, spending time in and/or fronting acts such as Krohm, Evoken, and Drawn and Quartered, among others Derna has struck out on his own with his newest project – and may have come away with his best release yet.
We’ve waxed poetic in this column quite a bit already in the past year or so about the sadomasochism of the current death metal scene. There have been some truly brutal (with a capital “b” and lots of extra “u”s) albums emanating from various cracks and crevices the world over. It would not be shocking at all if ten years from now we were looking back at the middle of this decade as a sort of Death Metal Renaissance. But in all ungodly seriousness few of those other albums can hold a candle to Ritual Chamber’s debut album, Obscurations (To Feast On The Seraphim).
For an album that has but one master this is a truly manic creation. Just the change over alone from tremolo picking and blast beats to a doom-like dirge or ethereal interlude can sometimes come at the speed equivalent to the flick of a light switch. The vocals are molten lava engulfing sections of each track in a blaze of impiety. The whole album is a deftly played trip through the sludgiest bowels of the death metal genre, where only disease and rot dwell. And this is where Ritual Chamber truly excel – atmosphere. There is an unsettling atmosphere surrounding this whole album. It’s the feeling that you’ve stumbled upon something you shouldn’t have, something so evil and so vile that it burns a black mark right onto your very soul.
It should be noted that all of Derna’s previous work constitutes a cavalcade of utter blasphemy, one that deserves repeated listens. But with Ritual Chamber the profane meets the vicious in truly frightening ways and deserves your immediate and undivided attention. Obscurations (To Feast On The Seraphim) is out now via Profound Lore Records and can be experienced at the Profound Lore Bandcamp page.