From the opening moments of Digital Ritual, it is clear that this is a seriously accomplished album with it sheer production value, dialled guitar tones and crushing drum sounds. The starting track, an instrumental, is as much a standalone piece as the works that follow it. I love how what is essentially just an intro still kicks ass this hard and sets up for a huge album to follow it.
‘Balance’ follows right away to pummel with a searing metal fury that is fast and relentless. The hammer falls with a stabbing and jolting breakdown to close out the track in under 2 minutes and the screams, drums and guitars don’t hold back from point to point.
The single ‘Star Blind’ which lends itself to a more accessible angle uses some clean delivery and moderately paced bouncey riffs that’s sure to get heads moving. The chorus ‘stars are in your eyes, steal your heart away through the night’ has a classic metal feeling that’s got all the markings of a live favorite. If you’re in the pit when this hits, you are indeed not going to be safe.
As Paradise Falls have covered a lot of territory on this album. Each track feels as through it’s cast in a particular genre or feel.. for example we have thrash, complicated proggy djent, metalcore, death and post-metal material throughout and here’s the kicker: it’s all killer.
‘The Ultimate Consumer’ might be my favorite cracker on the album with it’s instantly awesome ‘kill it kill it kill it’ lyric up front. I cant help but smile for it. The guitar trickery is well on show with some discordant shredding and an unshakably ‘Nevermore-ish’ feeling to it. The haunting vocals that drops in between the chugs and riffs would almost send chills..if not for the fact that the shuddering rhythms that roll beneath it are just so tasty.
For contrast As Paradise Falls’ are just as capable of some really out there moments as well as the high calibre but familiar djenty/metal. Case in point: track 8 – Dead Message. This track is slower paced but treading blackened metal territory and some utterly left-of-center metal idea’s. The arppegiating lick that opens the track has an almost comic feel to it, of course that’s all out the wind once the band kicks in. The solo that pops up mid way is such a fine example of bullshit and finesse that it’s hard to fault the Frederick-Throrndenal quality of it. The outro of chugs and spooky riff from the beginning is so well placed!
Similarly.. the next piece ‘Hysteria’ ripps as hard as anything else but conceals one of the most uplifting and melodic choruses on the album. It’s never as it seems on Digital Ritual, one minute they’re smashing walls, then the next they’re picking up the pieces. Such an interesting metal band!
My only criticism is only that the material on Digital Ritual doesn’t seem to flow that easily from one track to another. There’s a definite end and beginning to each piece and the energy and vibe occasionally suffers for it. A small issue, not a deal breaker by any means. A great album to be enjoyed in bite sized chunks rather than long sittings I suppose.
A lot of other things can be said about the journey this band has undertaken along the way to seeing this album through to fruition, line-up changes and a late member not to mention emotional and personal challenges. As significant as they may be, the end result reflect nothing but professionalism and high quality metal that should turn heads Australia wide. Huge huge album. Very solid. Mix is insanely good. Go get it.