A procession of cowled figures in blood red robes move slowly through the darkened streets of Warsaw Old Town, before them they carry an ornate and ancient torch burning a mystical herb that is older than the gods themselves, a torch that trails drifting clouds of pungent sweet smelling smoke behind it and thus heralds "The Rite of The Smoke" OK that is not exactly true but this is the imagery that we at Desert Psychlist had conjured up in our minds eye while listening to Polish doomsters Smoke Rites debut EP of the same name, a four song opus the band describe as "Satan Praising, Occultism" .
It's a pretty safe bet that a band hailing from Poland's underground metal/rock scene are going to be firing some pretty heavy riffs our way and Smoke Rites are certainly not a band who disappoint in that department, it would also be fairly safe to say, given the EP's artwork and the fact that the band precede their line-up notes on their Facebook page with the legend "𝔖𝔱𝔬𝔫𝔢𝔡 𝔇𝔬𝔬𝔪𝔢𝔯𝔰",that the grooves to be found on "The Rite of The Smoke" are going to be sitting within the sub-division of stoner doom especially as it is a sub-genre Poland seems to be gold medallists in, though having said that there is plenty of old school doom dynamics and new school occult rock textures to be found here also. Max (vocals); Lucas (guitar); Marek (bass) and Michał (drums), are all veterans of the Polish heavy scene and the chops they honed with well respected bands like War-Saw, Setheist and Goat Force One are all brought to bear on this their latest project but those those elements of thrash, prog and blackened metal, that were such an integral component of each members previous musical explorations, are here cleverly salted with a touch more doominosity and sludginess. Max's vocals are revelation throughout this stunning EP, at times her voice soars with a honeyed ethereal sweetness at others she cackles and crows like a possessed crone her vocal switching back and forth between these two differing dynamics with an unerring ease. Musically the band are as tight as a gastric belt, guitarist Lucas adds to the albums blackened atmospherics with an unending array of dark and delicious riffs and swirling dank solos while drummer Michal and bassist Marek lay down the sort of rhythmic power that could cause castle walls to crumble, this combination of emotionally charged vocalisations and thunderous doomic grooviness coming over at times like an unrelenting and unstoppable force of nature.