Released on Vinyl through Hypaethral Records (a Toronto based label who also puts out Titan, who are the shit,) Ramlord’s second full length album, “Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom” is an unfiltered blend of the most raw and blackened notes you could imagine, crammed into one album. Engineered by Will Killingsworth at Dead Air Studios and mastered by Garry Brents of Cara Neir, it’s prepped to ignite your dystopia as you watch its crippled structure burn.
Starting off in blackened melodic waves and chugging guitar riffs, ‘Nihil Fucking Lifeblood’ mixes up the expected continuous blast beats with supplemental fills, seamlessly transitioning into the tranquil churn of sludge. The drummer seems to ride his crash as things pick back up to undress the raw, blackstench of its sonic physique. Unknowingly, the drumming became my favorite part of this track which was surprising in this realm, generally left to its position as an afterthought. What a startled kick to the gonads that was.
‘Weakness’ showed me none what so ever, though a little too consistent in its resilience for memorability. There was the occasional guitar section that caught my ear; particularly from 3:05 onwards which took the mood of the track in an entirely different direction.
In only 37 seconds, ‘Eroded’ pummels through, allowing the beat to break down and intensify in rusted corrosion, altering the scales balance between speed and intensity. This is probably just a case of my deafness from too many live shows or that selective hearing thing my mom made me get checked out as a child but the first line “Ankles snared in thought.” What does that even mean? Pinned down by some sort of thought process that is paralyzing, ok… but why the ankles? Why not feet for the obvious stigmata effect? Think about it in a literal, torturous sense with me for a second will you. Now if you were going to pin someone to the ground, which would you rather, going through 3 inches of muscle tissue and bone in the ankle area, or the spacious fleshy spread of the foot? I’m thinking about this too hard. They were obviously just experimenting with bear trap imagery or I just heard the wrong thing like the good ol’ AC/DC classic – “DIRTY DEEDS! DONE WITH SHEEP!”
Not being the only short song on the album to pack every down tuned d-beat into the grittiest slow motion knuckle punch, I don’t think I’ve ever heard such an obvious pace degradation in any track less than 1 minute before. It’s a welcomed alteration to the musical run of the bulls.
Ramlord, were you warned before the album was even written that it was to end up in my hands and be scrutinized for the public eye because there was really no need to go writing about me now? Ha! ‘Embittered’ killed me. Dark, aggressive and honest, it was the best 39 seconds I’ve had in a while. Perhaps 5 minutes if you count the repeats.
‘Cancers of Progress’ started off with some fleshy lyrical content that you could really latch onto, while the second verse becomes muddied in slack jawed vomit with the vocalist slitting his own throat to gargle the verse. Overall, pretty typical and not really one of outstanding re-plays of the record.
‘Distant/Detach’ unhinged my grasp. The thread that held it all together, allowing my composure to reside in the forefront of my persona. Vacant, the final lyrics request an answer I am not prepared for. To the “Pale and lifeless masses, why the fuck should I waste my time?” I don’t even bother. My last fuck was just given to this album review.
Why great lyrical content has not been something I’ve come to expect from d-beat, be it the fault of predecessors or the nature of the genre who’s feel should have more impact instrumentally than anything, I’ve been glued to this line from ‘Dependency,’ “The texture of existence is too fine to remember;” a gorgeous lumination of its granules, far too light to hold any ground. Solid supporting bass and ripping guitar is stakes of survival in putrid decay.
For the one they call the village idiot, the shut in, the loser, that quiet kid who does weird shit like reading. You wonder why he’s so angry but it’s not hard to see he knows too much. So much so that life is uncomfortable. To Nostradamus, observation and insight have manifested frustration in naivety; a ‘Retrospective Dissonance.’
I’m not sure I can ever enter a nursing home again without thinking of everyone in their skin coffins, let alone just walk down the street and gaze through the population in their perpetually ticking body bags. This eerie concept’s literal manifestation in my imagination adheres just as unsettling as the feelings from the first time ‘Skin Coffin’ played through.
Closing out the record, ‘Extinction of Clairvoyance (Part Two)’ was a tad too thick in its stew that after falling in love with so many tracks off this album, it was an ending left in bitter sweet stalemate. For fans of Doom, Young and in the Way, Full of Hell and Brainoil, Ramlord are none of these bands but hold that stale and dusty space in between that deserves a lot more attention. “Crippled Minds, Sundered Wisdom” is definitely worth checking out.