Ritual Carnage - The Birth Of Tragedy
Osmose Productions
Thrash Metal
11 songs (38:47)
Release year: 2002
Ritual Carnage, Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Crims

If its one thing Metal needs more of, it’s traditional Thrash bands; those bands that take influence from the Bay Area but add a slightly modern touch. Sure, bands like Carnal Forge and The Haunted are all fine and dandy, but I want to hear some classic Overkill, Dark Angel, and Vio-lence styled Thrash played by new bands. So enter Japan’s Ritual Carnage. If you’re familiar with Ritual Carnage’s previous work they have changed their sound slightly. The vocals have done a complete turn around, which I’ll discuss later, and they’ve dropped a lot of their Death influences. So we are left with a traditional Thrash release that while not being perfect, has plenty of quality merits belonging to it.

The songs found on The Birth Of Tragedy are very riff and rhythm based; there’s no Gothenburg and there is very little Death, this is just pure Thrash. If I were to name one band that they most resemble at times it would probably be mid-period Overkil, but that’s just slightly in the guitars, the vocals are a completely different story. Instead of the death vox used on the last Ritual Carnage offering, the vocals are now sort of semi-spoken with a powerful and gruff tone. They are very unique and I can’t really think of any band that has vocals that sound exactly like this, but as a reference the closet would be what the vocals sounded like on the first Grip Inc. CD. They are both a blessing and a fault. I say a blessing because, as I mentioned, they are very unique and they give Ritual Carnage a distinct feel. Also the phrasing is very catchy and well done, however, the downside comes from a certain repetitive-ness. There is only one tone used and I can see a lot of people disliking how the vocals sound. The singer only bothered me at certain intervals, because overall I did like him, but I did find him a little annoying at times. As for the rest of the music as a whole: the songs contain typical thrash tempos, thus the tracks are fast with a lot of double bass and quick (but not blast beats) snare + bass patterns. Of course there are a good amount of change ups- not as many as say in Vio-lence or Dark Angel -but enough to appeal to most Thrash fans. The leads are also spread throughout each song quite nicely and they are very well played. The guitarist knows when to go all out and when to stay controlled.

Production wise The Birth Of Tragedy is a mixed bag; I liked pretty much everything except the snare drum, it just seemed to low-end heavy. The production is still a mixed bag though because the sound was a lot more thick and powerful on their last CD, but perhaps a more 80’s sound was done on purpose to further separate the band from their Death/Thrash beginnings; since that might be the case I won’t take off to many points for this.

Not every song is of the same quality as well. While starting out very good with fast head-bangers filled with quality riffs, The Birth Of Tragedy falls into above average territory with tracks 5 and 6. However, once the track listing hits Sanity’s Thin Line, with its maliciously crafted riffage things really pick up with some excellent closing tracks including the more structured, progressive, and dark Psycho-Sadistic Psychosis. This track was a pleasant surprise, as they went for a different approach to the song arrangement and it worked. A couple of versions are floating around of this CD with various bonus tracks, the one that this version has is a cover of the classic opening track from Death’s Scream Bloody Gore, Infernal Death. This was done as a tribute to the late, great, Chuck Schuldiner and it’s played true to its original form. In my opinion this is a very nice tribute and a good addition the CD. Lastly, the lyrics are also a huge highlight for me. They are actually political based and revolve around what the band members perceive as future problems and the downfall of American society, “democracy”, and ideals, mostly dealing with present issues. This is unusual for a Metal band to do today, especially a Japanese one, so while not being anti-American, it is anti-American Government so whether you agree with them or not, they are more thought provoking than most lyrics.

So despite slight production issues, two weak tracks, and possibly annoying vocals (to some of you) I still highly recommend this CD to fans of 80’s Thrash. They just don’t make CD’s like this very often anymore.

Killing Songs :
The Sixth Sense, The Birth Of Tragedy, Paradox Of Democracy, Sanity's Thin Line, Grave New World, Pyscho-Sadistic Pyschosis
Crims quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Ritual Carnage that we have reviewed:
Ritual Carnage - I, Infidel reviewed by Alex and quoted 45 / 100
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