Ritual Killer – Exterminance (Season of Mist)

Tuesday, 29th September 2015
Rating: 7/10

When Celtic Frost were at their peak (see: 1985 – 1987), its members did everything they could to bury pre-CF act Hellhammer. In truth, Tom G. Warrior and Martin Eric Ain were embarrassed by it. The band was regularly panned by critics and laughed at by fellow Swiss musicians, so to have that name supersede the amazing things Celtic Frost were doing, simply wasn’t going to happen. Eventually, the underground’s unyielding love of Hellhammer forced Warrior and Ain to accept how relevant and influential the band really was, with Hellhammer-inspired bands popping up all over the landscape. Lo and behold, here comes another one in the form of Ritual Killer.

Basically a Goatwhore, the band is another front for guitarist Sammy Duet to profess his love for the mighty Swiss. However, given that Goatwhore has already displayed such love across a handful of albums, there’s a certain redundancy to the band’s Exterminance debut. Duet’s guitar playing is already identifiable to begin with; subterranean, low tones, no melody, etc. etc., so in this instance, he’s dumbing-down his playing to match the feel and aura of primitive-grade extreme metal bands.

Vocalist Jordan Barlow does plenty of wailing, exhorting, and belching across the album’s eight songs, with inspired, from-the-depths performances on “Dogs, Wolves, and Carrion Fowl,” along with “Crippling Beast.” But for the most part, Ritual Killer are prone to one-dimensional club-bashing, going full-caveman. Then again, you’d have to be certain a project like this is just for kicks, which it probably is. So here’s your token fun-time side project release for the last quarter of the year, which, if you really break down and listen closely, is about as proper of an homage one could hope for.

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