DEA MARICA Ritual Of The Banished (self-released)
Gallow God is one of those bands that have managed an extraordinary feat : mix both schools of Classic Doom (both your Blues-fluenced Traditional one and the Epic one) with Doom/death the english way. And while the band hasn't been very busy since the release of their first EP in 2010, some of their members have decided to reactivate another older entity under the name Dea Marica.
Dea Marica is a band in which Riccardo Veronese and Chris Takka were playing before Gallow God, and the obvious question is : do they play the same kind of music? The answer is : yes and no. Now sit down, relax a bit and let's see what this first album bring to the table. First, there's some heavy riffing, the kind of which any Doom band worthy of the name should always have. While being quite Heavy sounding, those riffs have also an emotional content not unlike some of the more melodic doom/Death bands you can think of. It's still as heavy and cold as your marble angel crushing your back under its weight, yet it's also very deep and mournful (especially the solos, which are of colossal rain size). The vocal range is large, between classic Messiah Marcollin-inspired soulful cries and more aggressive morbid grunts. Too bad that those grunts are only used on the first tracks, because the mix of both vocal styles works so well that I was expecting an album full of it.
The atmosphere is as dark and brooding as one could expect, yet one cannot help but to think an expression of miserableness permeating every track. The production is just where it needs to be, not too polished but not too crispy either, shuffling both coldness and warmth on an album that shows a lot of promises for the future. Despite having a lot of italian born musicians in the line-up, the music sounds surprisingly not italian at all : don't expect here some occult vibe in the vein of Paul Chain or Black Oath, but more a curious and well-done mix between Serenity (remember that UK band formed by ex-Solstice members that was signed on Holy Records?) and My Dying Bride in their more melodic moments (especially “The Wild Hunt”, that seems to be taken from the sessions of The Dreadful Hours).
And as it goes, Ritual Of The Banished is nothing but one of the best first albums I've heard this year. There's a lot of bands with a longer career that haven't managed to release an album as good as this one for a long time. If ever there was an unsigned band that was deserving your support, this is Dea Marica. And I hope I won't have to wait too long to hear the follow-up to that excellent release.