Abjection Ritual – Soul of Ruin, Body of Filth (2018) REVIEW

Nihilism and a curious ear for extreme abnormal psychology case-studies fuel the harsh affect of Abjection Ritual‘s mixture of deathly sludge, dissonant industrial metal, and harsh noise. Sonically aimed at the post-tribal LSD trip of ‘Through Silver in Blood’-era Neurosis dredge but amplified by Drug Honkey levels of murk and fury ‘Soul of Ruin, Body of Filth’ is the fourth born full-length from this Erie, Pennsylvania project. It is unquestionably their most organic and outward reaching composition to date though they still rely on disturbing mash-ups of dark ambiance and harsh electronics for atmosphere. If you were previously blind to their work before this album this hideously dark and mechanical sludge-riffed death industrial might appear somewhat out of nowhere, but their progress up to this point across four years, and four releases, is admirable.

In 2014 their self-titled full-length was entirely composed harsh noise comprised of a walls of echoing noise, distorted screams in the dark, and a nigh constant use of what seemed to be a rusted gate screeching against it’s hinges. The final track “Thought Hostage” though, was a small taste of where the project would begin to lean with a thundering bass sample and swirling static. ‘Psychatric Failtures’ was a claustrophobic examination of mental healthcare’s history and extremity in the United States and we begin to see the use of speech samples and lyrics to serve an emerging need for further expression. The important takeaway from these first two records is that Abjection Ritual weren’t some jammed out sludge band, but a harsh and disturbed noise project that grew with a need for greater musical lexicon.

‘Futility Rites’ was more notable for it’s leap ahead in fidelity and composition compared to the first two Abjection Ritual records and ‘Soul of Ruin, Body of Filth’ is an even bigger leap akin to a project like Crawl suddenly employing a bassist and guitarist and going on tour. So, in many ways this is the first album from this project that resembles any sort of human-sourced rock performance with heavily layered guitars, bass, and drums. The garbled shouts and vibrating harsh tones are largely rescinded in favor of depraved doom-informed mid 90’s sludge influenced howling and shouting. Though “Deathbed Conversion” and “Carnassial Passage” retain a glimpse of Abjection Ritual‘s literal past, what is retained best is perhaps a sense of being deeply lost in a pit of depression-fed darkness swirling and whispering on the edges of insanity. Vivid in it’s highest definition and now very real whereas earlier works where quietly shaking moments of despair.

The most impactful moments for my taste here are “Body of Filth” for it’s classic Neurosis references and “Ruin” because I think the appearance from Starkweather vocalist Rennie Resmini gives the second half of the song a brilliant hardcore-ish, filthy snarl that works great with Abjection Ritual‘s sound. It’s worth pointing out that I think Starkweather is a nice choice on what to check out if you like this album, and vice versa. For all of it’s great moments I’m not sure any one will stick in my mind more than the clip that plays in the midst of “Blood Mother” where a prostitute infected with HIV/AIDS etc. details why she’d happily and intentionally spread it to her johns, and this with repeated screams layered over it. It does a great job of setting the tone of the album though I’m not sure if it is a tone I’d happily return to very often outside of my love for Neurosis influenced sludge. Maybe I’m a wimp.

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Artist Abjection Ritual
Type Album
Released April 6, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Malignant Records’ Bandcamp! Follow Abjection Ritual on Facebook
Genres Death Metal, Industrial Metal

Hands into fists. 3.0/5.0

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