A horrible hack

Ritual Mess

Vile Art

Year Released: 2014
Format: LP
Label: clean plate
Reviewed by Emile Bojesen on Sep 22, 2014
I had to review this because it sounds a little bit like if Honeywell had got to a better studio. Okay, so itís not as visceral, otherworldly and chaotically frayed as Honeywell but it still has the tension that seemed to sit in every part of all of their songs.

Itís in the details like the uncomplicated pinch harmonics of ĎThe Last Shoutí that what really attracted me to this music in the first place cuts through. It was never about emotional expression, it was about creating an emotionally intense space with the music you listened to and played. The best emotional hardcore, screamo, or (my preference) emo violence, was never about catharsis, it was about indulgence in extremes. Unlike harsh noise or grindcore, emo violence allowed more space for different voices to contribute to the immanent dynamic, without the baggage of the somewhat superficial group mentality of more traditional hardcore. It made whole rooms suddenly switch from beery conversation to total absence of self-consciousness. It was physical and it was life affirming. And this is the music that Ritual Mess play. Everything in ĎVile Artí exists to create or maintain tension without ever slipping into straightforward soft/loud constructions. The less noisy and dense parts of the songs are always on the cusp of explosion. The aesthetic is solid, the guitars sound great, the vocal patterns are perfectly placed, and the playing is as simple as it can get away with being. It sounds fresh, new and exciting while also continuing a genre narrative that began to stop short about ten years ago.

This is the first hardcore record in almost that long that has reminded me that it is a choice as to whether or not you let this kind of music carry you away from yourself. Donít even bother listening if you canít do that because otherwise itís just another screamy hardcore record to be filed somewhere next to Orchid and You and I. Maybe Iím out of touch or maybe this is the start of something really exciting about to happen in hardcore. Either way, Iím turning it up.

Recommended record by Collective Zine!

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