VATICINAL RITES – Vaticinal Rites (2021)REVIEW

Without any information to run with beyond quick mention of a couple of mid-90’s death metal scenes and a suggested location of the “United Kingdom” we can for sure note that Vaticinal Rites are a newly formed death metal quartet who’d presume to lead with the taste level of their material and let their prime choice of album cover (fine work from Fernando JFL) attract only the worthiest of angler. Sure, I’ll give any death metal band a solid ~12 minutes sans any context and hey, by some stroke of luck their debut EP, ‘Vaticinal Rites‘, is well worth ripping through. Just exactly where they are heading in terms of presenting well-rounded and complete songs versus simpler, straightforward riff vignettes is up in the air per this release but they’ve met a reasonably high standard nonetheless.

Formed by way of the yet enduring pandemic isolation of last year between members of death metal/hardcore band Grim Existence and guitarist/bassist Andreas Yiasoumi, Vaticinal Rites present as a study of death metal’s rhythmic evolution post-1993 yet pre-1998 while indicating some interest in death/thrash metal and technical death metal of the era a la Disincarnate, Demented Ted and Anesthesy. Though I wouldn’t yet suggest these guys are on the level of those artists of the past, opener “Telekinetic Blood Ritual’ does give a bit of ‘Millennium’-era Monstrosity‘s brutal kinetics and tension-throttled riffing to start. The finishing touch of dry chugging at the end of this song stomps out some of this first impression’s impact yet all is far from lost. Generalizing a bit here but, this turns out to be the same rhythmic voice and chunking sidebar each song takes on this EP and this is ultimately a good thing as they cross fairly standard death metal riffing and mild thrash metal influences. Vaticinal Rites‘ own brand of tech step n’ shuddering riffcraft continues to impress on “Burning Elysium”, probably the best overall piece on offer despite the hardcore influence of the guitarist(s) bleeding into what initially appeared to be a thrash metal standard. “Flesh Portal” is the one piece where I get a whiff of late 90’s melodeath-thrash but only for the main verse riff which kicks the song off, they eventually slow it down and tie together a larger rhythmic statement. It took about five whips through the EP for any of it to stick but none of it was a pain to rip through on repeat.

Short as this debut EP is I do think Vaticinal Rites make a decent enough case to keep going with this thread. The vocal patternation could yet match the intensity of the rhythm guitar performances more often, the bass guitars sound as if they’re pointed backstage much of the time, and all manner of slow-chug only holds these pieces back but these guys are nonetheless on a serious tear across the board here. I’m up for another 20 minutes for sure. A moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (75/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Vaticinal Rites
LABEL(S):Caligari Records,
Redefining Darkness Records
RELEASE DATE:November 12th, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp
GENRE(S):Death Metal

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