Written by Barlovv
Casket Robbery – Rituals of Death
> Death metal
> Wisconsin, US
> Releasing November 11
> Blood Blast / Nuclear Blast
Save your breath… it could be your last
Above. Below. Confined. Both sides.
What a nasty fucking beast, this upcoming album from Casket Robbery is also my first kick at their can and holy god am I ever thrilled to have them in my life. I don’t ever want to appear to be tokenising female-fronted metal bands, but genuinely they can be a rare thing in this genre, and there should be some fucking recognition of that fact, and the fact that vocalist Megan Orvold-Sheider will absolutely devastate you from beginning to end of this thing. She sets a pretty fucking high bar even just in terms of the vocal quality that I look for in music.
This is a five-piece death metal band from Wisconsin, consisting of Orvold-Sheider, Cory Scheider (guitar), Troy Powell (guitar), Bryan Bykowski (bass), and Erik Schultek (drums). It’s hard to oversell how hard this album goes, and how top-tier every single member of this band is all the way through. The sound is brutal, nearing oppressive, but never overwhelming. The riffs are catchy and tight, the drums are fantastic, providing walls of sound that really click into all those good serotonin places in my brain, and as I said before, Megan is—easily—one of the best metal vocalists giving one of the best performances of the year.
There is also not a second of rest right from the beginning of this thing. “Worm Food” opens with such an exceptional wall of sound that sweeps you up into it and doesn’t let you go until the album is over. Even the closing song, “Return to the Sky”, offers no rest, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. It almost knocks you off balance when “Death’s Dance” ends with a short orchestral piece; it’s like you’re pulling yourself up out of the grave for just a moment before being brutally kicked back into the whole with “Post Mortem”—a song that treads into the territory of just being some slow and dirty death/doom, but that can’t last forever. The band almost asks you to define them, and once you have a handle on it they completely change tactics and offer you something new.
Lyrically, Casket Robbery also gives you exactly what you want from a band called, well, Casket Robbery. Dark, brutal, and violent, but it never feels like it is trying to shock or offend. That doesn’t take away from the brutality either, Rituals of Death is a nasty thing just without those edgelord vibes that can come with more violent lyrics. It’s a level of restraint that shows how excellent Casket Robbery’s writing is, and they deserve nothing but praise for it. There is a clear sense of where the line between fun and just…shitty is, and so many bands don’t really know that line.
Adding all the pieces together, plus some really slick and excellent production (courtesy of producer Troy Powell and experienced audio engineer Christian Donaldson, who’s also a member of Cryptopsy), and you’ve got a hell of a product here. With some huge wall-of-sound breaks that are peppered with some really excellent, almost classic metal vibe, riffs that come screaming through the utter blackness like a spotlight. I really did have a blast listening to the whole thing—and the fact that they contribute to an absolutely inarguable fact that women in metal are so fucking vital to the success and continuity of the genre. Again, this is not to tokenise Orvold-Sheider, or even to downplay the role of the rest of the band—everyone here is a fucking beast, and needs to be acknowledged. Instead, I think it does become worth remarking on as we continue to see attacks on women and BIPOC across this genre and community and if we can take a second to improve the representation in our recommendations and our listening rotation then we absolutely fucking should.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Casket Robbery’s Rituals of Death has propelled itself up my seemingly constantly expanding list of best albums of 2022. There is so much to love about the album from top to bottom, and the slick and brutal production are just icing on the cake. So, really, there’s no excuse not to grab this thing when it releases on November 11th, and really you should just pre-order it now instead of waiting around. It absolutely shreds, and you’re going to like it. I wouldn’t lie to you, we’re friends, right?