Whiskey Ritual

Picture, if you will,  the sticky aftermath of an alcohol-fueled night at the pub pushing […]
January 31, 2023
Whiskey Ritual - Kings album cover

Picture, if you will,  the sticky aftermath of an alcohol-fueled night at the pub pushing its way through your pounding brain cells. There were probably other destinations besides that pub, and judging by the bloody knuckles, the mud stains on your leather jacket, and the leaves sticking out of your long, thinning hair, it wasn't easy getting back to your shitty little flat.  The fist-pumping black n' roll from Italian band WHISKEY RITUAL that fills up this 35-minute gem is inspired from nights like this.  It's that ingenious mashup of MOTORHEAD and MAYHEM that makes this drunken genre so goddamn fun when done right.  And like their modern-day counterparts in HELLHAMMER, MIDNIGHT and KVERLTAK, WHISKEY RITUAL are doing it right.  It's the sound of an empty Jack Daniels bottle being bludgeoned over the head of a stranger who looked at you wrong, and shouts of a half-empty bar cheering you on.

The album opens with "Kings," a pummeling, full-on black metal crescendo. Lead guitarist A. 's tremolo picked melodies over H. Desecrator's rhythm guitar are like the olives in the martini, although something tells me these guys aren't much for sipping. It devolves into a punkish riff with chanted vocals towards the end before singer Dorian Bones vomits all over the studio floor with an unintelligible series of blackened grunts. But it's the next two songs- "Robin Hood" and "Trve Escort"- that really announce the arrival of WHISKEY RITUAL's true (trve?) place at the top of the black n' roll heap.  "For the glory! For the drugs!," chants Bones on "Robin Hood". I think the next line is "for the criminals' center of worlds," but I'm sure I'm wrong. Regardless, that's what I've been screaming at the top of my lungs as I've walked around the streets of Central Asia freaking out all the locals.  It's this brilliant mash up of blackened tones and almost hardcore pub-like, soccer-match sing-along choruses that make the band stand out.  The single and third song "Trve Escort" continues with this. The video itself is a glorious Italian mess of drugs, knives, tattoos, broken bottles, motorcycles and rock and roll with a fists in the air chorus that repeats the title ad infinitum.  The band fancies themselves the Black Metal Ultras, complete with football-inspired scarf, and this song is a great example of that alcohol inspired type of fandom.

Speaking of Central Asia, flying back from the east coast of the states to where I work in this landlocked country off the Silk Road is a 12 hour shift through the time zone, so when Dorian Bones orally defecates the words "jetlag" on the song by the same name, I'm feeling it.  It's the sound of drinking a bottle of vodka and Red Bull in the hopes that the spinning world will catch up with you.  H. Desecrator holds down the rhythm while A. plays a simple, memorable melody over top, the musical modus operandi by which the Black Metal Ultras have tattooed into their shins with their prison-inspired kit.

"Kings" is a minor triumph, in many ways.  While not every song holds up as effectively as the three mentioned in this review, that doesn't take away from the sonic energy that these five guys from Parma pull off.  It's an adventurous exploration of black metal tropes and the anger and drunken pathos of mid-80s hardcore punk.  WHISKEY RITUAL is here to remind you that as bad as life fucking sucks- and, God knows it does- respite is only a fifth away.  Drink up, maggots!

8 / 10









"Kings" Track-listing:

1. Kings
2. Robin Hood
3. Trve Escort
4. Rien Ne Vas Plus
5. Jetlag
6. Goodfellas
7. Eye for an Eye
8. Blue Lights
9. Welcome to the Gray Zone

Whiskey Ritual Lineup:

Asher - Drums
A. - Guitars
Dorian Bones - Vocals
H. Desecrator - Rhythm Guitar
Mitja - Bass

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