|Review: Behexen - Rituale Satanum|
Label: Sinister Figure
Year released: 2000
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: February 16, 2011
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 4/5 (80%) (19 Votes)
There are a great number of bands out there dredging up riff-perverted old school Black Metal, but there are few that do it as authentically as Finland's Behexen, a band that fly the wind-tossed flag for the second wave without even a sliver of irony. Their later releases are lauded as great pieces of work, but 2000's debut shouldn't be sniffed at either, as Rituale Satanum is a bleak, blistering display of pure musical malevolence that fans of the style should lay down their arms to let its infection seep in.
Bare bones and as stark as you like, this is a collection of really nasty numbers, some of the filthiest and most disgusting you're likely to hear. The vocals are a demented gargle, the guitars a narrow blast of evil, and the drums are an almost relentless flash that flail your skin. Strangely, during "Night Of The Blasphemy" and throat-grabbing opener "Blessed Be The Darkness", the guitar work, hidden beneath the buzz of distortion, is hauntingly melodic, and very catchy, though these moments are rare, as most of this relies on shock tactics, as a great deal of the material is just a damn racket (but a good one, nonetheless). There are moments of blackened euphoria that recall the best of early Darkthrone, but generally Rituale Satanum is dripping more with despair than evil, despite its relentless pace. This two-piece shine often when they slow things down; "Baphomet's Call" and "Christ Forever Die" have strong moments of intrigue that force you back, even when you've been thrashed by following atrocities like "Towards the Father".
Fans of Horna, Sargeist or any other band these Finns are affiliated with will love the iniquity Behexen have to offer. If you're a follower of Black Metal at its rawest and therefore best, you'd better pick this up before it comes for you, because trust me, it will.
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