Ramesses – Misanthropic Alchemy

Ramesses-Misanthropic-Alchemy-Reissue-ArtworkRamesses is a British doom/sludge trio consisting of guitarist Tim Bagshaw (ex-Electric Wizard), drummer Mark Greening (Electric Wizard) and vocalist/bassist Adam Richardson (ex-Lord of Putrefaction). Unfortunately Ramesses has been put on hold. Bagshaw moved to the US to form Serpentine Path with the guys from Unearthly Trance, and Greening rejoined Electric Wizard, leaving Richardson out in the cold. Thankfully Ritual Productions decided to reissue debut full length Misanthropic Alchemy for those who just can’t get enough. This exhausting 2-disc set spans over two dominating hours and includes MA on the first disc. The second is made up of the We Will Lead You To Glorious Times EP, the Tomb EP and Glorious Dead’ from the split with Unearthly Trance.

Misanthropic Alchemy is just that. A brew of doom and sludge bubbling with misanthropy which transforms sound waves into something far less innocent. The quick and dirty ‘Ramesses Part 1’ kicks things off in oppressive fashion. Crushing tone surrounds the listener and holds them in place while Greening’s cracking snare hammers away at the mind. Things slow down in a hurry on ‘Ramesses Part 3’ (Part 2 is on the split with Negative Reaction). The kind of monolithic riffs Ramesses deal in proceed to enrapture the listener under their might. There is no escape. Nor would you want to. This is the sort of epic doom dreams are made of. The wave of power continues to devastate for most of the album with a couple notable exceptions. ‘Coat of Arms’ is a little more acoustic sounding and atmospheric. Bagshaw weaves melodies around Richardson’s central bass to uplifting effect. Same with closer ‘Earth Must Die’. It’s a beautiful melding of guitar and bass with sounds like explosions providing a measure of percussion. The two live tracks included have their flaws recording wise but as for performance, I bet those shows ruled.

The second disc starts with the Glorious Times EP. And glorious it is. Richardson’s gas-huffing-dragon-regurgitating-half-rotten-orcs vocals work well with the Sleep-esque mountains of iron riffs. In fact, at least one riff sounds almost exactly like Sleep. This is not a complaint as ‘Witchhampton’ is an incredible song. As is ‘Black Domina’. How this song is not legendary in doom circles is beyond me. The Tomb EP and ‘Glorious Dead’ are equally megalithic. Ramesses entire catalog is pure gold.

Packaging these three releases together is great not only for the completist but also for those just discovering the band. Three essentials plus some bonuses all in one place? How can you go wrong? Especially when Ramesses is so incredibly good at bowel-shaking, bone-crushing, mind destroying doom. Now’s your chance.

8/10

Matt Hinch