Ryth first came to the attention of Scream Blast Repeat in 2021 when Studio 77 released Metal! Live in Bahrain Vol. 2. As one of four native bands on the compilation album, the quartet’s blackened death metal garnered praise from our guest reviewer, Marc Dyos (Pythia/Phobetor). The quartet have been playing together since 2008, most of that time under the name of Rain in Hell before they relaunched their band as Ryth last year. Forging a career as a metal musician in Bahrain is a difficult enterprise, and recording regular material is even more challenging in a country with conservative Islamic values. In a fortuitous way, this has helped the band perfect their skills to become one of the tightest bands in their country. Now, their debut is ready for consumption, and it’s every bit the record you wanted from the last Gojira album.
The stereotype goes that metal bands in the Arab world are years behind the evolution and trends of Europe and North America because their access to contemporary extreme music is so limited. This does not apply to Ryth. In fact, you’ll struggle to find a more forward-thinking progressive death metal group outside the West. One listen to the dexterous groove of opener, ‘Auto-Autonomous’, is enough to convince you that these guys have a shared vision and purpose that includes deconstructing extreme metal and reassembling it as an artform with sharp dynamics and fluid structures. Listen to the palm-muted technique and lethal syncopation in the main verse riff here. This is what Gojira would sound like in a mash up with Death until the band reach the three-minute mark and start to accelerate the technical aspects of their music. Vocalist and bassist, Mohammed Al-Meshkhas, demonstrates wonderful breath control in the clinical bloodlust of his pipes, while the drums of Mahmood Al-Ansari pulsate with a crisp snare EQ and a punchy double-kick apparatus in the mix. Wait for the switch towards the end from abstract black metal to progressive rock – this is the definition of musical bravery.
Ryth’s ultimate strength is in their willingness to space out their brutal metal attack with celestial passages of clean guitar. ‘Self-Destruct’ and ‘White Portrait’ are magnificent examples how you can make death metal interesting to ears that grow wearier by the day. The former transitions from brooding triad shapes to crushing drop-tuned thrash rhythms in a haze of five minutes; the latter will remind you of Psycroptic in its guitar approach until the band surprise you with an anthemic tenor voice in the chorus worthy of English melodeath heroes, Countless Skies. Studio 77 deserve the highest praise for their production on this record. Dual guitars align like railway tracks converging on the same destination, yet you can hear subtle differences in their rhythms and chord choices. Only on ‘Spiral Flood’ do we hear a dissonant black metal streak, but they soon correct this with a vicious bout of down-picking and an outro of head-spinning tech death riffs.
Only one criticism seems justified given the quality of the music on offer – the structuring of the album tracks. The eight-minute cacophony of high-range screams and mid-tempo chugging of ‘Façade’ deserves to close out the album rather than prepare for its ending at track number seven with two more to follow. You have most of the ingredients of a post-metal song here if you take out the melodramatic growls and spiky guitar riffing. Ryth seem aware of the risks inherent in this experiment, which may explain why ‘The Rise of Erebus’ and ‘Explicit Name’ connect like a bullet between the eyes and seldom deviate away from the quartet’s tech death foundations. These would both be guilty of overkill if not for the thrash metal roots at the heart of their audio assault and the willingness of Abdulrahman Rashed and Hisham Al-Ansari to insert their love of emotive prog rock into the chaos.
There’s no reason why you should enjoy this album any less than the last Revocation album. Ryth are exquisite musicians with the imagination to match their skills. Deceptor Creator is a fine piece of progressive death metal that grows in stature with every repeat listen.
Release Date: 01/12/2022
Record Label: Self Released
Standout tracks: Auto-Autonomous; Self-Destruct; Façade
Suggested Further Listening: Psycroptic – Divine Council (2022), Polars Collide – Grotesque (2021), Azaab – Summoning the Cataclysm (2022)