Dire Fate first came to my attention earlier this year with their excellent contribution to the split with countrymen and fellow traditional doom cohorts Rote Mare. This little gem, ‘Ritual/Rehearsal MMXI’ demo, though recorded and officially released in 2011 has been given a wider circulation through the band’s official Bandcamp page. Based on their three tracks from the Rote Mare split the bar was set particularly high for the band and, without reservation, I can say that my expectations for their earlier demo recordings weren’t dashed. ‘Ritual/Rehearsal MMXI’ reveals the band’s quest to tread the traditional doom path while incorporating melodicism and a unique, dismal atmosphere—a prerequisite for crafting memorable and enduring doom.
Each of the three tracks of ‘Ritual/Rehearsal MMXI’ are singular exercises in arcane rites emanating dark and foreboding vibes suitable for raising the dead or conversing with demons. “Ah Satan… (Do You Know Him?)” is a Faustian tale of life extended beyond death through the treachery of a pact with the devil. This is straight-up old school doom with enough tempo changes to keep things interesting. Chant-like backing vocals and a tormented cry from the netherworld briefly accent the main vocals of Phillip D. Atropos whose voice is not too dissimilar from Bauhaus’ Peter Murphy. The remaining two tracks, “Cast the Spell” and “Spire of War”, continue the band’s allegiance to the dark arts of doom by spinning tales of near forgotten magic and the invocation of a god-like entity—an entity that should have remained dormant—whose lust for war sows nothing but death and destruction.
‘Ritual/Rehearsal MMXI’ is a killer demo that incorporates the best elements of traditional doom—ominous riffs, expressive vocals, and an unwavering devotion to creating a heavy and foreboding atmosphere through their compositions alone. Fans of traditional doom, particularly in the vein of Rote Mare or Funeral Circle’s self-titled album, won’t be disappointed with Dire Fate’s recently unearthed demo. Hopefully the band is on track for some studio time in the near future because their demo and split contributions are simply not enough.
Words : Steve Miller