Edmonton, AB seems to be a veritable hotbed of hostile energy, as reflected by the swath of extreme metal groups to emerge from those frigid wastes to terrorize the metal underground. Having been around since the late '90s, Rites of Thy Degringolade have heavyweights in the hearts of diehards, and even after a considerable span of years since 2005's, An Ode To Sin, Rites remind us of their place with resounding command through The Blade Philosophical.
The album name speaks to the nature of Rites' brand of black metal, as it is lethal and startlingly precise throughout. "Above the Highest" and "The Universe In Three Parts" alternate between gradual and frantic, with the former giving the latter a heightened fury through stark and sudden contrast. The pummelling heaviness is matched only by the vile wails of dissonant strings, which achieve a sublime state of ugliness.
When not viciously lashing out, Rites are marching to war with a tribal intensity in "The Blade Philosophical" or "The Final Laceration." Founding member, drummer, and vocalist Paulus Kressman makes deliberate use of his vocals, which themselves are cold and edged, so that rather than soar over the rest of the band, the words uttered are one with the instrumentation and exact an elevated potency.
This will no doubt be an introduction for many to Rites of Thy Degringolade, and is a worthy entry point for the newcomer as much as an expectedly triumphant return for fans. (Nuclear War Now!)