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Review: Ritual - Demonic Winter Metal
Demonic Winter Metal

Label: Wild Rags Records
Year released: 1996
Duration: 36:01
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 3.75/5

Review online: December 11, 2003
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers Rating
Demonic Winter Metal

Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (8 Votes)

This second album by the Los Angeles-based Black Metal band is quite different from what is offered on their third album, which incidentally was the first Ritual album I got. While "Soldiers Under Satan's Command" was more of a Blackened Thrash sound, "Demonic Winter Metal" sticks to a proven formula of raw and chaotic Black Metal, with very harsh vocals (barely understandable, unlike what can be heard on the follow up album.) They definitely didn't flirt with the more "commercial" brands of Black Metal at the time, and even now this still comes out as a pretty well done effort as far as raw BM goes (although the band does have its share of detractors, not that I really care.) I guess going back in time, it would be easy to say that the band pretty much just "stood out" almost as a copycat of early 90s Norwegian Black Metal, since there isn't much in terms of "innovation" to be found here. Nevertheless, I must say that overall I like what I hear on this album, and it's better than a lot of the European and Scandinavian offerings of the time - or today for that matter. Just one major gripe: The 6th track, "Dark Emptiness" is one of those keyboard tracks that's supposed to be atmospheric or something.. Well, it's depressing, that's for sure, but I haven't figured out whether it's just because it's depressingly bad and out of place - and waaaaay too long at over 5 minutes. Other than that, you're left with about 31 minutes of pretty good Black Metal.

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