Not to be confused with Anti-Mortem, like this reviewer might or might not have done, Anti Ritual‘s four experienced members all have deep roots in the Copenhagen hardcore scene. As Marco Malcorps, lead singer and lyricist pointed out in a recent interview, the quartet are so-named because “the acts of playing music and screaming out lyrics serve at times almost as a cathartic ritual – to get it all out, you know.” In fact, he’s quite clear here about the reasons for forming the band. “I worry about what kind of world we are leaving for our kids, and if we will leave any world at all.” Naturally, this mindset moulds their focus with Malcorps explaining their lyrics are “a harsh critique of mainstream society and the feeling of being in opposition to it.” Their aim, then, is to empower and arm the populace to give them “a way to cope with these feelings so as to not sink into total fucking apathy.”
What is clear is that no matter the topic (war, politics, social malaise or environmentalism), this latest slice of barbaric D-beat angst is an awesome exercise in the art of battery. Recorded and produced by the band themselves, mixed by Jakob Reichert Nielsen (Rising, Lack) and mastered by Brad Boatright (Nails, Sleep, From Ashes Rise), the six tracks on this self-titled EP hit with the force of a battering ram. With a mere 16-minute running time it really is a case of get in, make your point and get the fuck out. The combination of a primal throat-ripping vocal, splattering riffage and a thunderous stampede of skins certainly form a powerful alliance.
From the off the band’s blackened lungs hack-up waves of sludge and thunder as they deliver, short sharp blows to your ears. Opener “Ideals To The Fire” grumbles and growls like a pissed-off, chained-up rottweiler faced with a tormenting postman. “Slave Dogmatics” ups the ante, escaping the obliterating one-dimensional dirge to marry Black Breath‘s incisive menace to High On Fire‘s wild stringwork. Through speeding, dissonant chugs and howling chord sweeps Jacob Krogholt carves us out a new level of fury. The true mindbender here is “No Second Earth”. The message here is clear – without change humanity’s self-destruction awaits. “And here we are… in total disregard“, wails Malcorps. K.B. Larsen’s snarling bass frequently pitches its way to the surface and the intensive crush of Nikolaj Borg’s panicking kick-drum releases into half-time to create space within the track. The effect is mesmerising.
Blistering on through the swarthy, bludgeoning efforts of ‘The Highest Privilege’ and ‘Blame The Victim’, the former replete with a cyclical, echoing passage of cantankerous doom-mongering, we reach a vital, impressive kink in this EP’s evolution. Through a squall of feedback comes the elephantine pacing and vitriolic refrains of a ‘A New Discourse On Enlightenment.’ Through the breaks and chugging patterns, Malcorps simmers like a pre-menstrual Jamey Jasta on morphine. With bulging veins he delivers one final crawling message riddled with malevolent spite that caterwauls its way to an inevitable oblivion.
Aimed at those with dark souls, those malevolent extremists seeking a new level of violence, Anti Ritual certainly crams in a lifetime of pain into an infuriatingly short running time. You may emerge bloodied and bruised by the experience, but you will believe that this Danish foursome’s point is undeniably valid.