The phrase ‘Ritual Carnage’ that can be found in the cult and almost forgotten by gods and demons alike thrash band, could be explained as a rite of bloodshed. Since the band is ¾ Japanese, bar the only American – singer Damian Montgomery, comes as an association the most famous Eastern ritual, Seppuku. In the Western world we usually refer to it as harakiri (“stomach / cutting the stomach”), a form of Japanese ritualistic suicide. Initially it was practised only by Samurai, but later from other Japanese people in order to restore honour for themselves or their families. Seppuku was either performed by Samurai to have an honourable death and not fall in the hands of their enemies (and possibly suffer torture) or as a form of death penalty for those who have done serious crimes and something which they would execute themselves, because of the shame they carried for those acts. In that ritualistic evisceration, which is usually part of a more complicated ritual and is performed in front of an audience, if the cut is deep enough, it might cause a spectacular and quick death. After we clean the blood and remember that paying with your life for your mistakes sounds very impressive, I remind you that Western civilization might have been altered by capitalism with an uncontrolled amoralism – not that before that we were better in terms of morals -, but it has moved forward to more refined solutions and arrangements of ethical issues and punishment, evolved through Enlightment from a essentially primitive society of guilt covered by an aristocratic and elitistic, codified ethical behaviour. “Every Nerve Alive” is Ritual Carnage’s second album. It came after their very strong debut The Highest Law (1998) and a small online search in later reviews left me speechless by the stupidity and the ignorance there is out there, since many of them presented it as a mediocre and weak album… Besides the fact that the time it was released it was a thrash oasis, it has mostly stood the test of time and still sounds fresh and dangerous. But enough with The Highest Law which we might say it has a loose production (as if we are talking about opera…) In comparison with other Japanese bands, Ritual Carnage stood out because of their American singer that made them more accessible to the American and European fans, but at the same time possibly took out a part of the cult value. In their lyrics, they didn’t move away from the cliché issues like end of the world, misanthropy and some more personal quests that we usually come across in thrash albums. But the quality of their music is such that that the lyrics go perfectly with that sonic violence, so commonplace issues are not a problem. Musically, we have to deal with a crescendo of Slayeresque riffs and solos that attack with no remorse and make no discrimination. The speed is frenzy and boundless. Let me remind you that the band appeared at a time when few were playing thrash and The Haunted were baptised as the new Slayer from internal Press and although online betting hadn’t come to Greece yet, many people lost their money on that. The album is full of intensity, aggression and wise usage of guitar parts that are as if they came out straight from hell. You will listen to a lot of influences from early Sepultura and Sodom, it brings me in mind ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ by Pestilence with the easiness it moves between thrash and death, while the structure of the songs is simple and helps carve in memory all these information that come in the form of a storm as far as the guitars go, plus the endless bombardment of drums. The songs don’t have catchy choruses, but stand out easily and this is a positive thing. Recordings took place in the legendary Morrisound studios (Montgomery, a former military officer that comes from Tampa, had recorded there before in 1986 with his first band Pagan Faith, before moving, due to his profession, to the East) and that’s how the intense stench of corpses and death parts can be explained. All of you who were there in the ’90s, know and love them for the right reasons. For those of you that haven’t, check them out and you will find an exceptional thrash death hybrid that is based in the inspiring and violent guitars and the death vocals in a completely retro thrash scenery that will move you with its expressive approach, the open and not at all one-dimensional direction and its dedication to the genre. Songs that stand out are: “Awating The Kill”, “8th Great Hell”, “End Of An Ace”, “Every Nerve Alive” and “The Wrath”.
The vinyl was released from Osmose with 4 bonus songs. Cd contains 5, “Far East Aggressors” that was released only in the Japanese edition plus 4 covers.
Damian Montgomery: lead vocals and bass guitars
Kenichi Koide: guitars
Katsuyuki Nakabayashi: guitars
Naoya Hamaii: drums