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Review: Berserk - Rites of Supremacy
Rites of Supremacy

Label: Adipocere Records
Year released: 2003
Duration: 43:07
Tracks: 7
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: August 10, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Rites of Supremacy


It's always cool when bands are on the ball and take responsibility for their own promotion. I picked up Berserk's first CD on a whim, and reviewed it here. Apparently they saw the review and contacted me, offering to send the promo for their new one. I love when bands do that, it shows initiative.

I liked the previous "From the Celtiberian Woods" quite a bit, even though the production was very thin, as it was recorded on a severe shoestring budget. (The band informs me it was actually recorded in a garage and mixed on a home PC, so now I am even more impressed). This album was recorded in a real studio with an actual budget, and sounds waaaaaay better. The guitar sound is still dry but has great tone, sounding a lot like Dissection, and there is much more to the lower end.

"From The Celtiberian Woods" had a lot of keyboards and folky flourishes, but "Rites of Supremacy" is much more aggressive and straight-ahead. I would complain, as I liked the celtic flair of the last CD, but the songwriting here is so fucking cool I can't bring myself to bitch about it. Every song on here is very good, with rolling guitar harmonies and catchy riffs. Vocalist Nazak has a more midrange scream than the usual BM shriek, and once again this is a major point in his favor. The seven songs here are all pretty long, but they don't meander or get monotonous, and maintain a high energy level throughout. There are some cool acoustic breaks in here, but on the whole Berserk neither play too slow or too fast. Mostly the songs are just good, and it's hard to be more descriptive than that. "Astapa's Ashes", "Berserker's Blood" and the very cool "Blood of the Gods" are high points, but there are no low points really, and the album is very consistent.

One of the things I really enjoy about Berserk are the utterly non-satan-based lyrics. Like its predecessor, "Rites" is all about pre-roman Celtic Spain. It is so refreshing to encounter a Black Metal band with something to write about besides satan or Vikings that the English-is-my-second-language awkwardness of the lyrics is completely forgivable, at least from where I sit. As they said in their letter-"Hi, we're Berserk from Spain, how are you?" They may be vicious pagan black metallers, but they are polite. LOL

I really like this CD. It has that cold BM edge while maintaining a melodic feel that really calls to mind Dissection's "Storm of the Light's Bane". As I am not a fan of many of Black Metal's acknowledged luminaries (Enslaved, Darkthrone, Satyricon), my opinion of a black metal band may be suspect. But I think Berserk are a cool band, and I recommend "Rites Of Supremacy" to any fan of underground BM who isn't married to satan.

"Lord and owner of strength, I wear bear's skin. Because through my veins runs berserker's blood!"

Other related information on the site
Review: Cries of Blood and Hate (reviewed by Pagan Shadow)
Review: Cries of Blood and Hate (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Return of the Ancient Laws (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: …From the Celtiberian Woods (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with Lord Monk (bass) on September 14, 2003 (Interviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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