Ancient Rites

People say this is a classic of underground metal that has only finally been released on CD, but it sounds to me like late eighties fast strumming death metal and as such has been enjoyed.

The Diabolical Serenades
After Dark

Production: Relatively clear, ludicrous drum machine, no real value.

Review: Securely in the death metal genre with fast, expansive riffs and blast choruses, Ancient Rites make a technology of old school riffing modified into death metal structures in the featureless and abstract landscape of the style. There is nothing dramatically new; it does not matter much. Both beauty and pure flaw combine to make this release irksome, tempting and intriguing.

The obvious deficiency is the drumming; despite there being two photos and listings for the drummer, the beats on here resemble machine origin in sound and programming, with descending repetition and precision rolls cutting in for fill time. Standard rock beats accelerated with some electronica influence in fill technique paces the album, with occasional bloodlust pounding that integrates well with the chaotic drive. But in all, mechanical.


1. (Intro) Infant Sacrifices to Baalberith (1:16)
2. Crucifixion Justified (Roman Supremacy) (3:55)
3. Satanic Rejoice (3:56)
4. Obscurity reigns (fields of Flanders) (2:29)
5. Death Messiah (2:38)
6. Land of Frost & Despair (4:45)
7. Assyrian empire (3:34)
8. Longing for the Ancient Kingdom (3:46)
9. Morbid glory (Gilles De Raise 1404-1440) (3:36)
10. Ritual Slayings (Goat worship pure) (3:54)
11. Evil prevails (4:28)
12. Last Rites/Echoes of melancholy (outro) (0:33)
Length: 38:46

Copyright © 1993 After Dark

Guitars are fast, not as much rhythmic-counteraction fast as Deicide is, but shred fast, with high iteration speed and a consequent tearing sound as the music climbs over the primitive drumming. The strength of the album is the guitar work, with speed and terror propelling nimble fingers through reconfiguration of the previously discovered. Nearly constant strumming speed alters timbre while whipping chord change patternings declare space and enforce narrative. As vocals sear through a dead-even rhythm delivery of antagonistic diatribe, the swarming mass of sound from chaotic and recombinant guitar riffs births new life in this driving and energetic work.

Blasfemia Eternal

Production: Transparent enough that some acoustic dimension is added to the music but mainly it solidly preserves guitar tone and rhythm in roughly the proportions of hearing a band from 50 feet into a crowd. No complaints.

Review: In some ways similar to the first release from Ancient Rites, this album appropriates some of the styles of black metal for its purposes of decreasing complexity to emphasize rhythm. The tonal aspects of this work are often minimized intentionally in favor of simple riffs of notes and power chords that span distance while a drum rhythm defines a mood and vocal pace shapes it.

Intensely paced and often rippingly aggressive in sheer hand-stroke motion on the guitar, this music puts the blast back into death metal by working in slightly more bizarre structures, throwing in occasional melody or dissonance, and using the strum rhythms to define a metaconcept of each song.


1. Blasfemia Eternal (0:30)
2. Total Misanthropia (4:19)
3. Garden of Delights (EVA) (4:03)
4. Quest for Blood (Le Vampire) (3:47)
5. Blood of Christ (Mohammed wept) (3:59)
6. (Het verdronken Land van) Saeftinge (3:51)
7. Epebos aionia (4:49)
8. Shades of Eternal Battlefields (Our Empire Fell) (4:12)
9. Vae Victis (4:06)
10. Fallen Angel (2:23)
Length: 36:01

Copyright © 1996 Mascot

This simplicity further breaks down the death-metal-ness of this music and enhances some flavor, but the consequence is a compositional range of parts wrought from crude granular elements. Guitar solos are throwaway note strings bent serpentine and cast into an abyss of trailing melodic potential; they are generic enough to fit easily into the music and not be noticed.

Abstracted and sinuously resonant rhythms and timbres escape from the guitar as it is maneuvered through fairly technical tempo-shifting passages. Vocals are harsh and compressed often so that the voice seems to escape its owner at lower registers, but the rhythms are off-beat and nearly-on-beat to propel each song further forward. While the primary instrument is guitar with vocals for rhythmic counterpoint, percussion here is the intensely syncopated, mechanistic drumming that badly offset the last album but manages in this to create enough resonating rhythm of opposition to give one the impression of a jackhammer against a punching bag, an eternal struggle of anger versus ignorance.

The rhythms and patterns of this release show a predominant black metal influence but its soul remains the blasting syncopation of death metal, so interpret this to be the mixed bloodline of heavy metal, black metal, and death metal with grindcore touches that it is. Its reason for endurance as an object of listening however is its fluid and alert riff changes and driving, resurgent electricity of impassionment toward motion.

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