Riti Occulti [Italy]
Since encountering Riti Occulti on their 2012 eponymous debut album, I have been rather fascinated with the band and their concept, not only through the fact that they make use of no guitars and multiple vocalists, but also in the output that they produce through this rather unique lineup. This year marks the return of the band with their sophomore full length album, Secta, and despite it being only 2 years, as one would easily notice, Secta marks a tremendous growth of the band compared to their 2012 debut.
Kicking off with the operatic Nigredo, the band sets a stage that is dark and haunting for the listeners, before going into Plumbum, with a soundscape that is rather epic and atmospheric, not unlike that of ambient black metal bands such as Summoning with the simplistic yet majestic drumming of Ivano. The usage of the saxophones on the track even give it a slight Ihsahn feel, combined with the slow pace and the emotions that are roused in the listener.
Soon enough though, it is business as usual for the band as one is treated to a nice combination of black, stoner and doom metal. The foundation of Riti Occulti‘s style is clear, and draws inspiration from bands such as Electric Wizard, down to the original doom stylistics of bands like Black Sabbath and Saint Vitus, but they have included over here some other elements to make their sound stand out from the plethora of stoner/doom releases that are not flooding the scene. There is the synths of Sara who shrouds the record in a constant fog of mystery, and the bass of Niccolo, which is probably the main driver of the record considering the lack of guitars on the album. A good choice though, with the low-end growl of the instrument ensuring that one is constantly left gasping for air.
The vocals are the personal highlights on the album, and rather than being just a means of lyric-delivery, the band makes clever use of the vocal duo to reinforce the entire listening experience of Secta. Elisabetta provides the clean, female vocals on the album, and she provides some of the haunting effects, seemingly drifting in and out of the album like a ghost wandering aimlessly in an abandoned chapel. This is complemented by the growls/screams of Serena, pushing the limits of one’s sanity with the disturbance that the duo manage to conjure.
Too bad this album was only discovered recently, but with the quality and the mastery of the music that Riti Occulti has written on their sophomore, Secta could have very well been my personal stoner/doom metal record of last year.