Rites of Darkness 2011 closed out on Sunday 12/11 with a somber and powerful set from melodic death-doomers Mournful Congregation (we premiered a song from their new LP) who toured the West Coast with the like-minded Aldebaran and Anhedonist. Compared to the other days, Sunday focused more on the slow-and-heavy side of things with Anatomia and Pallbearer (both bands of the doom ilk) also on the bill.
There were exceptions though. Mitochondrian, Vasaeleth, Ignivomous and Cruciamentum all focused on the death metal side of things while Ares Kingdom stayed true to blackened thrash (they also played the pre-fest). The clear standout on Sunday was Impetuous Ritual who, while doused in blood, played seemingly formless death metal with frightening accuracy and power. It was a ritual indeed, and one made for conjuring the dark spirits.
Despite the heavy drama, the rumors, the devastating cancellations, poor communication, the changes/lack of set times, the overall turnout, the garbage food and close to no options to the contrary (only nachos and hot dogs on site), and the bands that flew to the US without a flight home, Rites of Darkness III featured some of the most impressive performances of the year from bands across the globe. Favorite moments include the incendiary Antaeus, the thunderous slow-crawl of Anatomia, the stage-dives and moshing during the great Midnight, the charismatic and fantastic Adorior, the soothing melodicism of Mournful Congregation, evil incarnate from Impetuous Ritual, and Ignivomous's set closer of "World Eater" by Bolt Thrower. We'll see if it happens next year.
If you missed it, check out pictures and reviews from day 1 and day 2, and then check out more pictures from the final day at Rites of Darkness (I missed Vasaeleth unfortunately, though I did catch their set at the pre-fest), below...