This is the follow up to 2017’s excellent Marking the Day, which also made it onto my end of year list for that year. It’s great to hear the massive sludge-infused doom of Nomadic Rituals once more, and this new album is a strong contender for the best in their discography.
The music moves with its customary slow grace, demolishing everything in front of it with flattening riffs and rhythmic density. This is a modern approach to death/doom that incorporates apocalyptic elements of post-metallic sludge to craft huge songs that are incredibly weighty.
Nomadic Rituals always seem to be more than simply heavy; every note of crushing distortion seems somehow imbued with mood and feeling. Much like the band’s last album, it is clear that a lot of work and care has gone onto Tides, and this is a nuanced album with a lot of light and shade. These songs capture what is, for me, so compelling about this sort of doom; heaviness of music, but a heaviness that’s rich in atmosphere and emotion.
Each of the tracks combine low frequency bludgeoning with the sort of immersive atmospheric delivery that draws you in closer and closer. All of the songs have this deceptively simple core to them, yet manifest themselves in different expressions of this approach. Peppered throughout are moments that add texture to the outright heaviness of the rest of the material, such as engaging melodic enhancements, lighter post-metal sections, or variations in vocal delivery.
The end result of Nomadic Rituals’ latest effort is a 46-minute album that is hypnotic in its charms, and won’t let you go until the last. If you’re partial to music like this, then Tides is an album that will drag you down and totally consume you.
Well, musically at least, 2021 is starting off very well indeed, as Tides is ludicrously strong.
Essential listening for doomheads everywhere.