|Review: Ritual - Chapter 666 (1993-1994)|
|Chapter 666 (1993-1994)|
Label: Hell's Metal
Year released: 2002
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: September 18, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
for:Chapter 666 (1993-1994)
Kvlt, kvlt, kvlt. Ritual are a long-deceased band from California who were one of the first US Black Metal bands of any note. They produced three discs (the last being the great "Soldiers Under Satan's Command") and this compilation of rare, unreleased, and live tracks is likely the last thing anyone is going to get out of them. Only 666 copies were pressed of this gleefully low-fi slab of evil and hatred, so good luck getting ahold of one.
This sounds essentially like raw, Celtic Frost or Venom-styled Black Metal being played in a bathroom. I mean the recording is REALLY primitive here, going way beyond what most bands would call "Raw" or even "Demo-level". The sound level is so muted that if you have your volume knob calibrated for modern, slickly-produced metal, you will put this in and wonder what that annoying background rumble is. Hint: that rumble is the music itself. So you gotta turn this waaaaaay up to get the full effect, and you have to have a taste for really stripped-down raw Black Metal. If you can get past those limitations, then "Chapter 666" is great fun. Ritual were a great little trio of riffmeisters, and every song on here blisters with headbangable and brutal riffs. Don't expect any solos, any technical drumming, or any intelligible vocals. This is a just a raw. Raw, raw attack of evil that hits like a fist. After a while, you don't notice the muffled production as much, and you even take in the tape fades and feedback squeals with a kind of fond pleasure.
So I have to say that this is a release strictly for fans, as it makes bands like Mutiilation sound like Primal Fear it is so fucking raw and kvlt-sounding. If you know and love Ritual, then by all means get this if you can. If you don't you're probably better off going after one of their regular albums, as this one will just confuse people who are not already into this stuff. An unpolished gem.
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