Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Temple of Baal/Ritualization - The Vision Of Fading Mankind (Split) 
Both Temple of Baal and Ritualization hail from France, a country that’s currently gleaming from a steady set of black metal bands rising in the likes of Deathspell Omega and such. Temple of Baal and Ritualization have come together and joined forces to produce a batch of both abrasive black metal and intense black/death, respectively.
Temple of Baal open up the split, sharing with the listener four tracks of brooding, abrasive black metal. Their riffing is hefty, filled with, for the most part, common black metal tremolo riffs. Along with this, they also play host to an almost dissonant tone that they put into play very effectively. There is a good amount of variety throughout the four tracks, most of which is played in a style that’s not unknown to black metal fans, yet it’s more heavy and vicious than some other bands. There’s “Slaves to the Beast,” a more groove-influenced black metal track that has some catchy riffs and pounding double bass work throughout it, and there’s “Heresy Forever Enthroned,” a whopping nine-minute track that plays along a slightly slower tempo, the riffs having an ominous sound to them, slightly different from the rest of their songs which play along a faster and more intense style. (It even has a guitar solo, which in fact is actually not half bad). The vocals spew dense growls that blend in perfectly with the music, sounding more like death metal vocals than anything else, and the drums are always pounding and unyielding; blasting furiously in the background.
Ritualization take up where Temple of Baal leave off in the latter half of the split. They present three songs, one of which is a great Mortem cover. The other two originals differentiate quite greatly from what Temple of Baal accomplished in their own side of the split, being noticeably more old-school death metal influenced than the former; namely, a style that blends both black metal with death metal in the vein of Deicide and other old-school death metal acts. The production is less tight and perfected than Temple of Baal’s, yet this is not a bad thing, as it suits their brand of metal nicely. The vocals are much lower in register, lower in the mix, and the guitars are angrier than that of Tempo of Baal’s. The drumming makes use of lots of blast beats and fast double bass work, akin to most American death metal. They don’t offer as much as Temple of Baal, but they give listeners three decent tracks to headbang to as you clench your jaw and put your angry face on. There’s not very much variety, but there’s not much room for it either; respectable tracks nonetheless.
Both bands contribute different styles of black and death metal that makes for an interesting end result, and a split that’s worth getting. Temple of Baal is probably better than Ritualization, if not simply because they have more variety in their four songs. Ritualization aren’t bad either, and they’ll show the listener that they are very much into black metal, yet they stick very true to their old-school death metal roots. A somewhat hasty yet still decent and entertaining achievement.