Ominous Scriptures – Rituals of Mass Self-Ignition

I don’t know what I’m doing here. I liked the title – I thought it sounded cool. Belarus is fun to say. You all know by now that I am not a brutal death kinda guy, so this will be a learning experience for everyone. Slams, crunchy riffs, sticky production, and a vocalist from hell combine for maximum vitriol, and I have never felt so bewildered in my life. How did we end up in track eight? We were just listening to track two. I’ve got my work cut out for me.

Full disclosure: it took me about four listens to actually discern between tracks blastin’ and chunkin’ around Rituals of Mass Self-Ignition’s modest runtime, and to Ominous Scriptures’ credit, they never overstay their welcome. That being said, it’s up to you whether it’s welcome to begin with. It sure is brutal death metal with no ear for variety, but this Belarusian quintet knows its craft for its third full-length. It’s thick, heavy, sticky, and wholly impenetrable, with some blackened stuff sprinkled on top of this brutal death sundae. If all you want in life is to be beaten around by death metal, Rituals of Mass Self-Ignition will satisfy mightily; however, if you want eight songs and thirty minutes to have some semblance of variety, look elsewhere.

“Demonic Totem I Am” is an interesting way to kick things off, as it dwells little on punishing blasting and more on downtuned ominous melody, a subtle approach also hinted (but not fully capitalized upon) on closer “Codex Rescriptus.” Feeling a bit like odes to the creeping and squirming earworms of Immolation, it puts punishment on the back burner but feels nonetheless blasphemous and heavy in a way that gets under listeners’ skin. Elsewhere, Ominous Scriptures weaponizes groove and death in the intro of “Serpentine Wisdom” but especially “Mangled Perception,” jolting rhythms exchanging punishing slams and bouncy groove: energy and chemistry are as palpable as the sweaty hands that form it. In a unique production style, Rituals of Mass Self-Ignition feels more like ominous shredding than dark beatdown, giving further emphasis to the occult and demonic theme that pervades. The mix feels more akin to blackened death album than a brutal death slog, giving further intrigue to tracks like “Fanning the Flames” and “Enraged,” which balance the razor’s edge between an almost OSDM cavernous feel and blackened death’s vicious tines.

That being said, it took me four listens to discern the good out of this lightning-fast downtuned blitz. While I appreciate the Ominous Scriptures’ brevity in a neat and tidy half-hour, too often Rituals of Mass Self-Ignition lacks the dynamics to sustain a worthwhile listen. Multiple tracks fly by without fanfare in a dense blur of blastbeats, growls, and thick riffs. While opener “Demonic Totem I Am” offers interesting ideas, the title track through “Fanning the Flames” feel like one overlong tune, with only a tasteful solo elevating the constant audio thuggery, the intro to “Serpentine Wisdom” a respite. Meanwhile “Mangled Perception” offers the most interesting rhythms of the album, only to be aptly mangled by the brutal mediocrity of “Inhabitant of the Lacrimarium” and closer “Codex Rescriptus.” While its brutality is certainly a force to be reckoned with, Ominous Scriptures lacks the dynamics of better veteran acts like Unfathomable Ruination, Defeated Sanity, or Devourment.

Ultimately, Rituals of Mass Self-Ignition is only for the most seasoned of brutal death die-hards. While the Belarusian pummel-meisters offer just enough interest in the crawling “Demonic Totem I Am” and groovy “Mangled Perception,” with a unique mix and production to hint at mastery to come and a tastefully concise runtime, the rest of the tracks fall away into blasting monotony. Unwavering death growls, unashamedly relentless blasting, and copied-and-pasted riffs like a jackhammer dominate, and although I’m finally able to discern between its tracks, I still feel utterly bewildered by Ominous Scriptures.

Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Willowtip Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: January 27th, 2023

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