Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Review: Ritual Aesthetic – 'Decollect'


Sean Von Helvete may be better known as the man behind the drums for Dawn Of Ashes and Belhor, but there is no denying that his début solo album under the moniker of Ritual Aesthetic that he is more than capable of standing in the spotlight on his own. 'Decollect' sees Von Helvete blend the metal leanings of Dawn Of Ashes and Psyclon Nine with a purer dark electronic atmosphere to create something that walks a fine line between dark dance and demonic heaviness.

The title track opens the album with a short instrumental introduction that slowly flickers away before the hard and fast 'Orphans In Coma' opens things up properly with some very nice guitar work that still maintains a dance-friendly beat. 'Something To Know You By' on the other hand turns the beats into full club mode and brings out the big industrial synth sounds for a scorching and sinister dance track that is a real attention grabber. 'Orchid Incestus' is a nice balance of the ferocity of 'Orphans...' and the gritty industrial dance of 'Something...', while 'Red Redeemer (When The World Becomes Skin)' is a brave and experimental instrumental that breaks up the track list nicely.

'Fleshing Wheel' goes back into metal territory while maintaining a little of the previous track's noisy undercurrent. 'Through The Lust Of Flies' is another brave instrumental that forsakes all guitars in favour of some straight noise-laden industrial. The album then finishes off on the sublimely haunting 'Tender Petal', which even though is one of the slowest and quietest tracks on the album, really shows off Von Helevete's skill as a performer.

The three remixes of 'Something To Know You By' from Izoloscope, Ruinizer, and Tactical Module all give the song and ultra-club friendly overhaul in their own relative styles. It would have been nice if three different songs got the remix treatment, however the three contributing acts sufficiently reconstruct the song that having it three times in a row is not a problem.

The production is overall rather fitting. It's gritty and dirty but doesn't over power the guitar and synth distortion at all. The only hang-up is that on a few songs the mix feels like its building up to something but then doesn't get that extra kick. But in the overall scheme of things this doesn't detract from the songs too much.

On the whole though this is a solid début that promises a lot of good things to come. It is short and (not so) sweet, and despite a few indiscretions here and there, leaves the listener wanting more. Hopefully Von Helvete won't take too long in capitalising on this with a follow-up.

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