Chuck Schuldiner Project

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Ritual Clearing - Penitence


This one is a crusher. Ritual Clearing first came onto my radar in 2020 with their self titled demo. Their first full length, Penitence builds on so much of what made that demo compelling. It's gloriously monochromatic, dark and brooding black metal, leaning into the bands classic influences, Sacramentum, Lord Belial and other early 90s black metal. This is the genre done right, with a desire to crack skulls and force us all to come to terms with the misery of survival.

There is something wonderfully old feeling about the music on Penitence. The band has found a way to lean into the melancholia and leave listeners gasping for air. The sense of terrror that they ease upon the listener in a track like "Void" speaks to their ability to craft wonderfully emotional music with a very limited sonic pallet. The stripped back nature of the compositions is engaging and leaves listeners plenty of space to get lost in. While Ritual Clearing are certainly not trying to reinvent the steel, they have found a way to contribute to the canon that makes sense to them and their vision. 

Penitence is going to mesmerize listeners and draw them in time and time again. It's a record that speaks to the heart and soul of black metal, and as the drum beats rain down like arrows from the sky it becomes hard to deny the beauty of what has been constructed here. Thrumming forward with a grim, almost frostbitten energy, Ritual Clearing consistently find ways to inspire us to delve within ourselves. What more could you want from the new wave of American black metal? 

Pre-order the album!

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