Ceremonial Worship – Seven Gateways to Eternal Misanthropy Review

If you’ve ever seen a deep, thick pool of tar, that’s how the AMG Promo Pit looks. It gets its color and density from the sheer volume of black metal releases we get every week. I can stand upright in it and become completely submerged in it. But, when all the asshole writers take the good shit, you’re left sticking your hand in the goo. With everything being one-person black metal outfits, there’s no point in picking and choosing once you’re neck-deep in the muck. Get in, grab a promo, and get out before the stuff melts the skin off your bones. When I emerged from the goop, and Holdy used Kenneth to sponge me off, I looked at my prize. Ceremonial Worship, from Greece. Huh… OK, I like Rotting Christ. “This might be worth it,” I say as I look at my sizzling skin.

As I read through the one-pager, there’s no resemblance to Rotting Christ. Oh well. Next, I scan the band’s EPs and find them rather enjoyable—even for raw, dimensionless black metal. Though you can’t find a copy of the band’s debut LP, Ode to Dionyssus, it’s no big deal. It was released in limited supply, and the label appears to discredit it completely. So, the label declares Seven Gateways to Eternal Misanthropy as the trve debut. Ummm, ok. I suppose I’ll dive in.

Do you know that feeling when you’ve had six tequila shots, eight beers, and two bottles of wine in one night?1 More importantly, do you recall what you screamed out as you rushed to the toilet? I know what I scream: “Mistakes were made!” And it’s no different with Seven Gateways to Eternal Misanthropy. This album is easily the most directionless release I’ve heard in a long time. I get the impression it’s supposed to sound scary, but the songs go on way too long, go nowhere, and seemingly evaporate. The vocals sound like they’re emanating from a trash can, and the mix is so bad you can’t hear the guitars half the time (even with a very dynamic mix). To make matters worse, most of the riffs are paper thin, and you’d be lucky to get more than two original riffs in five minutes.

After opening with a movie soundtrack intro, “True Evil in Me” sets the stage for everything to expect from the other six tracks. Raw production, distant black metal riffage, guttural vocals that I can mimic by putting my hand over my mouth, and a general “I forgot the ending” attitude. At first, nothing bothers me. Then, the drums hit, and everyone can kiss the guitars goodbye. Especially when you get to the end of the song. But, worst of all, the music won’t fucking quit. It wanders around with absolutely zero direction—like a blind man going for a hike. But, if that wasn’t enough to turn you off, somehow, one of the longest songs on the album is only three minutes long. Basically, “Orders Beyond Horizon” has two riffs. One takes up most of the song and does nothing. The other is a bizarre mishmash of swirling chaos at the end, with bass guitar cranked to eleven. Honestly, I’m assuming that’s bass that I hear because no one would go out of their way to record a dying cow.

Unfortunately, the only songs of any interest to me are the last two. Unfortunately, my interest in “Path of Burning Ambition” is primarily negative. This odd, punky, upbeat piece makes zero sense on an album like Seven Gateways to Eternal Misanthropy. When this song started, I had to check my media player to see if it jumped to a different album. Worst of all, the vocals don’t work, and, like the rest of the album, the track goes nowhere. “Vanishing Heaven,” on the other hand, I can get behind. Even though it’s the only good track on the album, it’s memorable and has a slick black ‘n’ roll character.

More than most of the staff (excluding Doom), I’m not afraid to tackle the pit’s blackness. I rather enjoy the raw sound of old. But the songwriting on Seven Gateways to Eternal Misanthropy is confusing, and the drums2 are an abomination—to the point of becoming distracting. The drums can also be attributed to the bloated songs, as they appear toward the end of tracks, bringing the only diversity to the record. So, why not bring them to the front if they are the only slightly interesting thing on the album?

Rating: 1.0/5.0
DR: 11 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Eternal Death | Bandcamp3
Websites: ceremonialworship.bandcamp.com4 | facebook.com/ceremonial-worship
Releases Worldwide: July 22nd, 2022

Show 4 footnotes

  1. Yes. – Steel
  2. Which I’m assuming are digital because I see no one credited.
  3. Click here for Sevens Gateways to Eternal Worship.
  4. Click here for the old stuff.
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