I came across Rites quite spontaneously. As far as I can remember it was someone from Headless Kross (Scottish doom metal) who had recommended them and since I quite dig Headless Kross and have been to all of their recent gigs in Glasgow, one could expect that I'd check a band with plausibly similar sound. Rites are rather different, even though they bear some similar traits and both bands are from the UK. I'd define their music as a low, down tuned, particularly heavy sludge doom.
I quite dig the fact that the vocalist sounds a bit like Kirk Fisher (Buzzov•en). Well, no one sounds exactly as screwed and greasy as fucking Kirk, but the manner of delivering the vocals is quite similar. Most songs don't vary in pace a lot, all of them being rather slow and grouchy sludge metal. While in their latest album you can find quite a lot of interesting solos, the first Rites LP is rather straightforward. The intro is much more an instrumental song than just a few notes thrown together just for the sake of it, and I find it particularly awesome. I mean, a lot of bands just compose a few notes to make some opening track, but this one here is quite solid. It's also probably the fastest you will get on this record.
Second song, "Vessel" is tuned damn low (as we like it, baby) and has the catchiest riff on the record. The vocalist is damn awesome again. He sounds like spitting acid. The guy also reminds me of Martin Van Drunen. Ok, I hate to make these references all the time, but it's a decent way to make people actually get some links to a particular sound in their head. I'm very often unimpressed with sludge records as most bands tend to repeat themselves, but here you get some actual content. Not to mention that the bass lines are pretty audible most of the time and this is a feature you definitely need for decent sludge. I can't think of any other sub genre of metal which depends on bass so much. Like, you can basically listen to some bands with never realising what the bass guitar does. The case here is not one of these and you only need to play a few minutes of "Plastic Lung" to find out that I am right. Another bloody awesome track, which you most definitely need to check if you like Graves at Sea.
I purchased Rites's EP before even listening to their latest work, which is probably to some extent good for my bank account as I'd have gotten everything they released. In my own opinion, the II Rites is much better than the one i have already been talking for. No confusion, the EP here is pretty sweet, it's just that they have become a lot better at their second attempt. It might also be that I'm a bigger fan of doom metal than sludge and there's clearly more doom on the second Rites and specifically a lot more soloing. So if you like this folk here, I'd definitely suggest that you check the band's other songs.