Review: “Rituals of Death” by Casket Robbery

Emerging from the apocalyptic wasteland of the Midwest, Casket Robbery are a female fronted Death Metal machine who love nothing more than to infuse intensity and groove with horror and occult themes. Recorded at Unintended Studios & Old Dark House Studios 2020-2021, their sophomore album “Rituals Of Death” was then mixed and mastered by Christian Donaldson (Psycroptic, The Agonist) with the band looking to build on the foundations of 2016’s “Evolution Of Evil” and 2017 EP “The Ascension” as they approach a decade of destruction together. That time has seen spent well, sharing stages with Cannibal Corpse, Jungle Rot and Immolation to name but a few as they toured the US as well as making appearances at the likes of Full Terror Assault and Milwaukee Summerfest. The history lesson is now over so it’s time for the dissection to begin. Five singles released prior to the album starting in August 2021 mean that some of this has already seen the cold light of day with single “Bone Mother” catching the attention and ripping through the parade like Freddie Kruger’s sister while accumulating 115k of Spotify streams alone…

The album drags itself kicking and screaming over the threshold with savage opener “Worm Food“, a groove laden Death Metal monster with eerie atmospherics adding a haunting touch to a skull battering storm of blast beats and vocals which find Megan Orvold-Scheider confirming her superiority. The solo raises the hairs on the back of the neck like a lit match landing in a pool of gasoline as the band set themselves a very high benchmark from the very start. “Don’t Forget The Eyes” then finds the band joined by Keith Wampler of The Convalescence for another rampaging bombastic cut that slices and dices as the vocal duo go toe to toe roaring “stitch by stitch” at the top of their lungs. It’s like a flame thrower fight to the death, each vocalist seeing who can burn the hottest for the longest. That setup “Death’s Dance” perfectly as Orvold-Scheider incorporates more vocal experimentation into this one, her trademark bark augmented by some throat gargling moments before the orchestral embellishments add a sense of the darkly cinematic. Instead of building on that dynamic and offering something symphonic, the band dial in the atmospherics with Bryan Bykowski’s bass allowed to bleed out into the mix for the crushing “Post-Mortem“, a murderous cut with a clean vocal moment at the end that sickeningly catches you off guard. After that brief moment of clarity “Beautiful Death” punches hard with haunting solos twisting and turning through the scaling vocals, creating a beautifully turbulent track of pure and unadulterated violence. It has swagger, style and grace within the confines of a full throttle performance aimed to ensure that there is no soft underbelly in the middle of the record.

Staccato riff breaks and neck snapping headbangable groove make “Bone Mother” sound like the work of Pantera or Lamb Of God with an undeniable instant hook that like an Alligator catching its prey in a death roll, doesn’t stop until the final seconds. It’s pure class, a stand out among monuments to wrathful gods that will see the band worshipped in the live arena with mosh pits getting hit hard. The first taste of the demonic plague of this album came in “The Hidden The Hideous“, one which surprisingly takes a leaf from the Wednesday 13 book with spooky, haunting synth underpinning sections of relentless sonic assault that hammer away at the very soul. “Old Ones” then echoes that running along similar lines, the eerie background noises playing tricks on the mind as the band keep delivering the high rate extinction fuelling riffs at a phenomenal rate before the supernatural whirlwind of “Reanimate” descends into madness. A gore fuelled horror story about corpses with spoken word moments from Avi Cohen, it severs the flesh from bone with another caustic vocal performance while creating the perfect soundscape moment for an exploitation movie with a certain tongue in cheek humour quality. All that is left is for one final restless and relentless onslaught and for that the burnt offering of “Return To The Sky” is the anticipated juggernaut that goes for the jugular. “Rituals Of Death” feels like the antidote to the venom of the modern world, an album which finds Casket Robbery at their finest, delivering death by a thousand cuts to ensure that they get their due [8.5/10]

Track Listing

  1. Worm Food
  2. Don’t Forget The Eyes (ft. Keith Wampler of The Convalescence)
  3. Death’s Dance
  4. Post-Mortem  (ft. Amy Blue of Bluewhisper)
  5. Beautiful Death (ft. Mary Zimmer of VoiceHacks)
  6. Bone Mother
  7. The Hidden The Hideous
  8. Old Ones
  9. Reanimate (ft. Avi Cohen)
  10. Return To The Sky

Rituals of Death” by Casket Robbery is out 11th November 2022 via Blood Blast Distribution and is available over at bandcamp

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