This is the second album from Canadian metallers Ritual Dictates.
Featuring current and ex-members of 3 Inches of Blood and Revocation, this is an atypical album that probably doesn’t sound like you’re expecting it to. It certainly took me by surprise, in a very pleasant way.
No Great Loss provides 37 minutes of non-standard music. It’s an intriguing mix of styles, primarily Gothic metal’s sombre grandeur, expressive doom metal, and a swathe of progressive rock influences. An old-school streak runs through the album, imbuing the material with a 70s progressive feel, although it’s also true to say that there are some modern Devin Townsend-esque elements here too. Take this, and then imagine an unholy cross between Fvneral Fvkk and Type O Negative, and you’ll have a rough idea of what Ritual Dictates offer here.
The music is colourful and layered. It’s crafted from a range of potentially conflicting interests that are somehow experimentally channelled into six idiosyncratic tracks that hit more than they miss.
Each song is synth-heavy and resplendent in melodic adornments. The music is richly endowed with characterful presence, born from the affecting clean singing and the constant swirling bass. Onto this are built a range of structures arising from the diverse guitars, (including some very classic metal leads), while the drums provide a foundation that keeps everything in its place. Much of the music is highly atmospheric one one way or another, and I find it easy to get lost in some of these songs. My Solitude (and so I Shall Depart) is notable in this regard. I’ll also mention Aqua Tofana, (which boasts the guest vocals of the singer of Unleash the Archers), and the subsequent Autumn Song too.
No Great Loss was not what I was expecting at all, but it has pleased. It’s highly infectious, and before you know it you’ll be wanting to feel the sweet caress of its unusual charms once again.