I first saw Atriarch back in September of 2010 by accident. They were at Three Clubs, opening for Lighting Swords of Death--I came out on a whim to see the headliners, with no clue what surprises lurked amongst the openers. As the amps thrummed to life before their set, the singer lit a stick of smudge, wafting scented smoke through the room before smearing the ashes across his face. I've seen Wolves in the Throne Room do this on a larger stage--I guess it helps the atmosphere in some small sense, though I enjoy it more for the way it hides the stench of the crowd. I've seen lesser acts do the same to an inevitable lesser effect--just another gimmick. Here, for the first time, the burning sage felt appropriate and necessary--in this room, with this band, with these songs, the few of us in attendance were drawn into the heart of the ritual. For all the talk of live rituals these days, I've never felt a part of one until that night.

The music fit the backdrop. Atriarch started out playing a hybrid of doom and death rock--Christian Death swinging slow and low. The touchstones were obvious but the execution was perfect. After the set, I stumbled over to the merch booth to thank the singer for handing me my ass and to buy a screenprinted long-sleeve army jacket, which has since become my favorite, most-worn piece of band merchandise ever. Score.

Fast-forward two years. Seventh Rule released their first album, Forever the End, last August. 20 Buck Spin put out the excellent and much more death-rock sounding split with Alaric earlier this year. But leave it to Profound Lore to sign these guys right as they nail their stride on record. Ritual of Passing is obscenely good. There's a newfound forward momentum here: it's Christian Death by way of Celtic Frost, doom intercut with quick bursts of gothic black metal, and that same ritualistic fervor that fueled their live set. I could listen to this all night, every night.

And here's your chance to do the same. We're streaming Ritual of Passing in its entirety up until it comes out next Tuesday. Listen, pre-order, and prosper.

— Aaron Lariviere

This Stream Has Expired.

Upcoming West Coast Tour Dates:

11/09 – Idaho Falls, ID @ Waxhouse
11/10 – Denver, CO @ Aqualungs
11/11 – Kansas City, MO @ House Show
11/12 – Chicago, IL @ Ultra Lounge
11/13 – Indianapolis, IN @ Piss Haus
11/14 – Pittsburgh, PA @ The Roboto
11/15 – Providence, RI @ Empire Theater
11/16 – Boston, MA @ TBA
11/17 – Brooklyn, NY @ Saint Vitus
11/18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Millcreek Tavern
11/19 – Atlantic City, NJ @ Bone Yard
11/20 – Baltimore, MD @ Side Bar
11/21 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter
11/22 – Atlanta, GA @ The Garden
11/23 – New Orleans, LA @ Siberia
11/24 – Fort Worth, TX @ Lola’s Saloon
11/25 – Albuquerque, NM @ Syncro
11/26 – Phoenix, AZ @ Trunk Space
11/27 – Los Angeles, CA @ Boom Tomb Room


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