"A Banishing Ritual" (Bindrune Recordings; 2010)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Hailing from Washington, the near-epicenter of naturalistic black metal, Blood of the Black Owl are riding a wave of good press – at least the kind of good press that underground bands are reluctantly afforded.

Blood of the Black Owl’s forays into experimental funeral doom incorporates black metal and trance for an intriguing mix. Long drawn out passages initially sound like traditional drone recordings, but Blood of the Black Owl approaches music in a more ritualistic manner. The music is at times stormy and violent and at other times like long stares into vast open spaces. Songs evolve slowly in a non-linear way – each new spin reveals interesting layers and melodies. Sparse vocals serve to enhance the proceedings rather than existing as a focal point. Primal in its origins and fierce in its conclusion “A Banishing Ritual” demonstrates Blood of the Black Owl’s devotion to nature and the natural forces ruling all living things. As such, the album is more of a philosophical/spiritual exercise than most listening experiences.

Blood of the Black Owl’s “A Banishing Ritual” is for fans of Earth that have a finer appreciation for the black metal style in addition to drone and ambient styles. Blood of the Black Owl is less punishing than other nature-centric bands like Wolves in the Throne Room and approach the sound/style of Vinterriket and Northaunt.

Blood of the Black Owl is Chet W. Scott, Daniel Ellis Harrod, and James Woodhead.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2010 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Jun 2018 20:14:11 -0400.