This is the follow up to 2020’s striking Conqueror Worm, which I really liked.
This EP provides us with 26 minutes of new material. The style is a mix of old and new, taking in elements of classic and atmospheric black metal, blackgaze, folk, post-rock, and many others. These raw ingredients are taken by the artist behind the band, shaken and mixed all together, poured out into a post-blackened pot, and left to simmer on a low heat. This recipe allows the music to come together very nicely.
Emotive melody is used well across Ghost of the Departed, the first track, but the artist also uses the non-melodic aspects of the music well too. Almost every part of the song is designed to wring out the maximum in emotive responses from the listener. This is achieved via very capable songwriting; this track takes you on a journey, through melodic streaks of colour, dark blackened brutality, soft ethereal post-rock folk, uplifting evocative atmosphere, and much more besides.
Beast Made Flesh is the artist at his most aggressive. This is the shortest track on here, (and shorter than anything on Conqueror Worm as well), and combines harsh black metal with muscular death metal and even boasts some elements of hardcore. The end result reminds me of what a mix between Goatwhore and Hypocrisy might sound like. It’s a different look for Sepulchre by the Sea, but a very good one. Happy to see more of this in the future.
The final song is the 12-minute title track. Here the furious atmospheric black metal influences are fully let loose. A combination of visceral aggressive intensity and mood-building, affecting melodies, and deep furrows of atmosphere is the name of the game here, and the artist is playing for keeps. It’s a strong song in all respects, but I particularly enjoy it from the middle onwards, as it truly loses itself in a build/release post-metal mechanic of prodigious blackened proportions.
A note on the vocals across the release; I like these a lot. Impassioned blackened screaming is always good to hear when performed well, but the vocal patterns used enhance the delivery too. Other styles also appear, and everything is performed very effectively.
Based on the quality of Conqueror Worm I had high hopes for Ratiocinations, and I have not been disappointed.
Very highly recommended.