Released: 2010, Bindrune Recordings
Another funeral doom offering from the enigmatic Bindrune Recordings label, this time it is the spiritual, Native American-influenced Blood of the Black Owl and their third album A BANISHING RITUAL. Only formed five years ago, the Seattle-based act has been building up a bit of a following in funeral doom circles, with highly regarded albums BLOOD OF THE BLACK OWL and A FERAL SPIRIT.
Without going into details, suffice it to say that A BANISHING RITUAL is a personal work based (at least partially) on Nordic runes. Opening with “Intent”, the group immediately get to work building a forebodingly bleak atmosphere that slowly builds through the use of gongs, drums and a hypnotizing dulcimer riff. Finally, a piercing Native flute breaks through the din, culminating in some sparsely moaned vocals before the whole thing collapses in on itself for the vicious and metallic “The Statement of Will”. Easily the heaviest and most pummelling piece on the album, “The Statement of Will” is also the shortest. Even so, the band still finds room within the track’s four minutes to include some beautiful atmospherics.
“Chant of the Captured Spirit” follows and over its eleven minutes you can feel the build up of fury, despite the pulling back of the electric guitars from the previous track. Another hypnotic riff leads the song, but it is the occasional blasts of horns and howled vocals that punctuate the power of the music.
As the album closes with “The Final Banishing”, another moaned vocal leads the track into a final compelling dirge where Scott’s blackened vocals tear through the calm veil built in the songs first few minutes.
As with most funeral doom, A BANISHING RITUAL is a lot to take in and requires multiple listens to fully appreciate. Chet Scott and crew have created a gripping piece of music that, although not perfect, does reward the attentive ear. This will certainly be one of the best funeral doom albums of the year.