Ritual Miasma doesn't quite mate the genres of Death and Black metal together, such as bands like VAMPIRE or Whipstriker - but, it instead seems to consist of certain elements the band has taken and pieced together in a way that feels right. It's got plenty, and I mean plenty, of Black Metal tropes throughout it's short length, and a fair amount of Death when it comes to clarity and vocal style. However, I can't help but feel like it doesn't quite fall on either side. The 'Black' metal elements are lacking the sizable amount of distortion that is usually found within the genre, a lot of it is about enormous hideous waves of sound - cleaning it all up is a extremely odd choice. I just don't feel like it has the same overall effect. On the flip side, the 'Death' elements are mainly saved for vocals and making the blackened stuff feel slightly more chuggy. It makes everything feel a bit... Frankenstein. Like a lot of the bands favorite elements from these genres were chosen, incorporated, as something Black AND Death but not Blackened Death. It doesn't feel new but it's not unacceptable either, just really straight forward and expected.
I can't go without mentioning Ziggurat's fondness for blast beats. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to find many other albums or EPs I've covered that feature this much drum-kit abuse (R.I.P. drum-kit, though). I can't exactly place how I feel about them, not because they sound bad, but because blast beats like this are heard quite a bit on the very raw, primal, sort of black metal you find on some cassette labels - only this drum work is all properly mastered, extremely clear, and doesn't quite feel like your brain is frying due to the sheer volume of the high-hats. It's a clarity that almost feels a little perverse, in some odd way. Perhaps, because of my troubled love towards raw black metal. Way to make me feel conflicted, Ziggurat.
Again, Ritual Miasma isn't really bad in any way, Ziggurat seems to have a lot of potential. If a band's work is it's child then this one is a beast, but if it's one of natural conception or cold hard experimentation... well, that is something I can't quite pinpoint.
-KEITH, THE ODD-