Ziggurat – Ritual Miasma (2018) REVIEW

As late as I am on the Ziggurat train, the brilliance of this Israeli band’s occult black/death metal debut EP ‘Ritual Miasma’ is not lost upon me. Smartly enlisting current Nightbringer drummer Menthor for session drums and then Wann (aka Stephen Lockhart) for mixing/mastering gives the 20 minute blast of semi-melodic black/death unrivaled strength and clarity to growl above. Wann’s work on Svartidauði, and more recently Draugsól, releases is echoed here in terms of creating atmosphere with the mix but never obscuring the performances and Ziggurat make a grand and highly listenable entrance on this EP partially because their ideas/performances have been given proper sonic treatment.

You can see somewhat of a lineage, or personal progression, as Tohu‘s ideas in his previous ‘bedroom project’ Nihilistic Legion shaped as his songwriting became more ambitious and veered towards ‘occult’ death/black and away from atmospheric black metal. But ‘Ritual Miasma’ is less influenced by Norwegian black metal with the additional input from vocalist/guitarist Mørk. The collaboration plays to the strengths of it’s contributors and the precise but organic presence of Menthor helps set the EP a step above expectations. Guest vocals from Żelazo of Israeli black metal band Kutná Hora, are a nice touch on “דיבוק” and introduced me to another tasteful Israeli black metal band in the process. If nothing else ‘Ritual Miasma’ shows Ziggurat are experts at picking friends and staff for their conceptions.

For a debut EP this checks all of my boxes in terms of what I want to see from a band’s introduction to the world. They’ve got beautiful packaging, a strong and thoughtful black/death metal sound, carefully selected staffing, and plenty of riffs and atmosphere. Just looking at this EP I want to buy it for it’s stunning artwork and it helps that the music is a strong and very polished first release from a band dropped seemingly out of nowhere. Recommended highly to fans of occult and atmospheric black/death metal that echoes nods to everything from occult maestros like Ascension and Svartidauði to the semi-melodic early works of Taake. At just over 20 minutes I would just recommend giving the whole thing a listen with special attention paid to “Blind Faith” and “Summoning the Giant Serpent”. ‘Ritual Miasma’ definitely pulled me back in for several more listens beyond the first and I’m excited to hear a full-length from Ziggurat in the future.

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Artist Ziggurat
Type Album
Released  March 2, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Blood Harvest Records Bandcamp! Follow Ziggurat on Facebook
Genres

Blood flows beneath Ur. 4.0/5.0

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