Fri 31st August 2007
For Ramesses, it is time to stand up, step forth and lay their mark. For a few years now they have been a band always worth keeping an eye out for, without actually providing much in the way of "the goods". Problems with personnel, health and label issues have stalled the release of 'Misanthropic Alchemy', ensuring their previous employment still hangs over them whenever they are mentioned.
Finally seeing the light under fledgling label FETO Records, 'Misanthropic Alchemy' has a lot riding on it for the band. It takes only one listen through to discern whether they have succeeded. Ramesses have maximised their potential, simultaneously stepping into the light, out of the considerable shadow of Electric Wizard, and created a masterpiece of prodigious darkness.
The combination of the black metal influences, the claustrophobic Bill Anderson production, and a full quota of pulverising riffs culminate in an astounding doom album. The opening triplet of 'Ramesses Part 1', 'Ramesses Part 3' and the sublime 'Lords Misrule' showcase all that is grand with extreme doom metal. By its end, I am so entranced... engrossed, that when it finally dissipates into nothingness, I'm slack-jawed and goose-bumped up, stretching for the stereo remote.
This maybe the zenith, but that's not to knock the remainder of the album. 'Misanthropic Alchemy' remains strong throughout - Neurosis-ish moments come and go (possibly through the Anderson input) while blackened vocals maintain the menacing atmosphere.
'Misanthropic Alchemy' is the album many felt Ramesses could, but few felt would, make - a bewildering black psych doom trip. In gifting us with this minor classic, we should all feel grateful.