Rope Sect – The Great Flood Review

Idle Hands took the metal scene by storm last year. Their debut Mana had an unexpectedly widespread appeal and proved conclusively that the love for gothic rock among us was not as dead as many thought. The comparison to Idle Hands is easily made when looking at Rope Sect’s The Great Flood, another band seeking to revive old school gothic rock, and perhaps that may contribute to the quickly amassing buzz around the fledgling band, but two quality EP’s and a guest spot for Grave Pleasures and Hexvessel frontman Matthew McNerney a.k.a. Kvohst will do nothing to quell the surging tide of hype. An air of mystery surrounds the band, who operate under stage names and put their music against a background story of a cult that punishes all transgressions by hanging. Does the secretive band live up to expectations or is it but an overblown bubble soon to be popped?

Largely the former, thankfully, nor does the band coast on Idle Hands’ eruption. Rather than Mana’s more theatrical Sisters of Mercy flair, The Great Flood thrives on the deadened despondency of Bauhaus. The guitars echo in layers of reverb, the bass rambles unsteadily underneath and the vocals find the melancholic halfway point between Peter Murphy and Nick Cave; warm, inviting, and harboring a hole in his soul. Inmesher, who performs vocals as well as drums and guitars, purposefully limits his range, keeping his voice close to the chest, and it works beautifully with the music. In fact, despite feeling loose, owing to the post-punk roots of the style, the performances are excellent across the board.

Despite the subdued approach to the vocals, the album has plenty of variety and highlights. “Divide et Impera” and “Rope of the Just” are a one-two punch of speedier songs that kick the album off in style, both containing subtly addictive hooks and dreamily destitute vistas, followed by the calmer “Eleutheria” which sports beautiful basswork and plucked guitars. But the band is at their most effective on the infectious “The Underground Palace” which puts the punk back in post-punk with its jagged riff and haunting chorus. Inmesher’s voice suits the music so well, Kvohst’s guest spots on “Prison of You” and “Flood Flower” actually throw me off a little, and I’d be curious to hear the frontman perform these tracks himself.

The Great Flood retreats a tad early though, and though never poor, the second half is notably less inspired than the first. Particularly “Non Serviemus” is a non-starter and closer “Dilluvian Darkness” doesn’t manage to justify its length at over 6 minutes, as little of it really sticks or impresses. As such, the album’s frontloading is particularly notable on repeat spins, immediately picking up in liveliness as the record wraps back around to “Divide.” Penultimate track “Issohadores” makes up for some of this with a great quick-paced buildup construction, though, and the production makes it even easier to forgive. The master is rich and warm, perfect to wrap you in a blanket of forlorn, with the slightly raggedy, rambling guitar and bass tone contrasting nicely with the rich vocals.

The buzz around Rope Sect is certainly not without merit. Their secrecy and storytelling set the tone, and everyone loves a good mystery. But even going in cold, anyone with a shred of heart for old school goth rock will find plenty to enjoy in The Great Flood. The beautifully warm vocals and their cold, distant delivery, the layered rambling of the raggedy guitars, the variety in the writing and moods and tones across the album, as well as the production, all contribute to the palette of contrasts that make this band so listenable and enjoyable. The album is a bit too frontloaded, but all the seeds are here for Rope Sect to become a household name in the throwback rock scene many of us can’t help but love.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Iron Bonehead1
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: August 12th, 2020

Show 1 footnote

  1. Wait, why is this on a black and death metal label…?
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