Rope Sect – The Great Flood (Iron Bonehead)

Thursday, 17th September 2020
Rating: 8/10

For the sake of comparison, Germany’s Rope Sect are essentially next-door neighbors to Grave Pleasures. Both occupy the rather niche death rock sphere but come at it from different angles. Where Grave Pleasures is angling to get the party started and act all coy with their metaphors and wordplay, Rope Sect wants to get out of there as soon as possible. Where there’s swagger with Grave Pleasures, there’s moan-and-drone with Rope Sect, which, on their first full-length, The Great Flood, makes for a disarmingly enjoyable listen.

Rope Sect sound is largely stripped-down — don’t come looking for big, broad guitars, because they’re not here. Even with the distortion stripped away and minor-key chord progressions making hay, there’s ample dynamic heft to the ten songs here. The punctuating leather jacket swagger of “Rope of the Just” is the album’s standby rocker; the gaze-during-the-rainy-days temperament of “Eluetheria” as well as “Diluvian Darkness” channel nodes of melancholy, but it is the driving, ragged “Prison of You” (no joke — Grave Pleasures’ Mat “Kvohst” McNerney provides guest vocals here) and banging-to-minimalistic “Flood Flower” are contrasting, hook-laden cuts that are short on histrionics, but long on rock hooks.

There is little room for error when playing dark rock of this variety — with little in terms of production value and outside instrumentation, it’s just the songs or the highway. Rope Sect, in their dreary, more-dour-than-shoegaze approach, has touched all the appropriate nerves, proving that you can rock while acting miserable-as-you-know-what.