Wednesday, June 15, 2011


It would appear there has almost certainly never been a better time to be a fan of all things Doom and Sludge on this fair isle ,what with upcoming releases and new material by acts like Bacchus, Engines Of Ruin and Luminous Black , and the reformation of  the sublime Mongolia, indeed it would seem that now is the summer of our (quite welcome of course) discontent.

Joining the fray are Galway doom outfit Rites, who  have already put in some serious gigging hours playing with , among others, Bacchus , Twisted Mass and even Etcha and Middle Class Disaster, and all after only coming into existence since late 2009.

The first thing that strikes you on listening to the band's debut EP is  the band's sound. Less crust oriented than some of their peers, Rites's gnarled riffage has more in common with the smoked out lamentations of Cathedral or Electric Wizard  , evidenced particularly in third track 'Plastic Lung, a seven minute trip to the always delightful doom abyss that bands like The Sword long since stopped visiting, ( perhaps for fear of losing Twitter followers). Singer Griffin's rough edged vocals meanwhile put one in mind of  Scott Kelly , and indeed one can imagine the Oakland legend recognizing some shared DNA with Rites' earthy, no bullshit stoner metal.

Where the band excel though is in that one area that many sludge bands these days seem to phone in :the riffs baby!.Where certain bands are content to merely stretch out a riff to breaking point, or wash everything out in pointless noise  ,Rites instead choose to take the old fashioned route and let a song take on a groove and life of it's own, as evidenced in the agreeably  galloping  'Vessel' (arguably the highlight of the EP , at least for me)or the welcome bluesy detour that finishes 'Forging' , the former packing a riff that Sleep would sell their last few skins for.

Overall, this is a promising , , well produced, and  eminently listenable debut . Accessible and groovy enough for radio play , but with an edge that many modern stoner and doom bands can be found to be lacking , Rites may just be the down-beat, smoked out answer to those rained out summer blues.

Play Loud :)
Stephen O' Connor

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