Rope Sect - The Great Flood Review
Desolate yet beautiful
Formed in 2017 Germany's Rope Sect is a doomy post-punk band. Though their band camp labels them also as black metal and death metal, which while hearing their sound you might not think of these genre tags but the influences of these genres are ever-present if you listen enough. This band is relatively new having only a small collection of releases beyond their debut EP, Personae Ingratae which hooked me in as a listener on first listen. Beyond Personae Ingratae they had a split single in 2019 called “Handsome youth” and a single in 2020 called “Lava”. There is an air of mystery surrounding this band, in a good way, kind of like Ghost when they debuted, which would be a good comparison to state as their sound could be summarized as a more goth/deathrock version of ghost. To the extent when reading up on other reviews and just trying to get info on the band for a bio I mostly find things like "Rope Sect is a conceptual project that's supposed to be defined by its music, lyrics, and art. Private details, names, or related bands are simply irrelevant. So with that being said let's do just that and stop trying to define a who but just revel in this interesting desolate album.
Upon the first listen of this album, I was thinking some of these songs could be parts of a bigger whole, not in that the songs really run together or anything but could be movement changes of a large single song. But would I say this album sounds like one very long song? No, in the full run time of this album there is enough of a change-up in a good amount of the songs to have songs stand apart. The first song that really stood out from the pack was Hiraeth, as in this desolate almost hypnotic sound record coming out of seemingly nowhere but still somehow fit and worked overall in the song birthed one of the most low tempo, may I say chill blast beats I have ever heard to carry this song to its end!
The album as a whole though, to someone who while having a decent musical pallet is very rooted in metal, is very much a trip to listen to! The first thing I noticed is very much a signature thing from them, in the production being very lo-fi, with some songs feeling like it very well might have just been a mic’d up session recorded at the same time. That is not to say that this album sounds bad in any way either, it really adds to the overall atmosphere of the album! With the textures and colors not only in the album art but the ones the music inspires in the listener's head, is very desolate as I have stated a bit before, but I would like to elaborate on that a bit. Most of these songs could fit well in the score of a horror movie in which someone is fleeing from some backwoods cult through the desert at night.
If you as a listener are into lo-fi gothic/occult rock, this album is very much for you, the production, while sounding good, has a very sepia quality to it that at least in all the music I listen to makes this album stand out like a sore thumb! The guitar tone is overall decent, nothing very flashy, like a more clear, less distorted black metal guitar tone to a degree, with some oddly shimmery notes coming from its down-tuned goodness. A huge highlight of this album for me is the drum tone! In a world of samples and almost to perfect hits, this stands out to me with its warm very human tone and tempo mic’d just right so with the right headphone set up they almost sound like someone playing it live behind you while you listen to the rest of the mix on your headphones! The vocals make this band stand out, overall they have a lot of character to them and add to the dare I say spookiness factor of the whole album. They are very low in the register a lot, though when they do come up on higher it is a welcome change-up with a featured vocalist that comes in for a few tracks and keeps things fresh!
Song wise "Divide Et Impera" is an awesome high energy opener, this is probably my favorite song on the album and sets a very good tone for the album! Though the album itself is pretty low tempo, it sets up the listener in a place of ease before the long walk into the darkness to come. Such as the song "Eleutheria" which is a masterful dreary piece in which it could give the listener thoughts of an old dusty house on a rainy day, you can almost feel the cobwebs as you are led from the house into the cellar. Also "Hiraeth" the extreme metal moments made it stand out a lot, this song has the blast beat outro and even a bit of harsher vocal tones spread throughout the run time!
Some of this album's greatest strengths have an inherent weakness to them, while the album is an enjoyable and very good listening experience. I could not really see myself taking many of, if any of these songs off the album and adding it to a playlist. Which in this style of music they really don’t shoot for a single, but while all the songs were decent to good, none of them really jump out of the album at you and can get a bit samey at times but rarely. But needless to say, if the one real down is to say if I am going to listen to this album, it is going to be end to end or not at all isn’t that bad!
"Divide Et Impera" is an awesome high energy opener honestly my favorite song on the album! "Diluvian Darkness" is just a truly an amazing closing track which makes the listener feel like they are being led down that final desolate path, the final notes can send chills up as they descend into nothingness.
The album is great as a single piece but the songs might have a hard time standing outside of the album on their own.