Blood Ritual
by Samael

Samael return, only one year later than their last album Worship Him, but they sound better, and play better, though in a different way. This album is less melodic, featuring many more chunky Celtic Frost type riffs, in fact in many ways this album is like a fore-runner of the kind of black metal sound Satyricon are doing now. Most every song is slow to mid-tempo, and primarily focuses on a dark feeling and a kind of sludgy feel. That this can still be construed as black metal is simple, Darkthrone have done very similar sounds on albums like Panzerfaust, this is just a different kind of black metal than Mayhem.

The sound has become more focused, the production kind of comes around you like a warm fuzzy evil blanket, with a thick guitar tone that almost feels like you could reach out and grab it. All of this is very similar to Celtic Frost, yet obviously not exactly like Celtic Frost. For example the vocals are not like Tom Warrior's by any means. The vocals are still traditional black metal screams, and contrast well with the thick guitar tones.

The lyrics focus on various forms of blasphemy, like most black metal bands. However Samael manage to pull it off in an intelligent fashion. The arragements of the songs are also excellent, being at times operatic. Always the riffs move in an organic fashion with no startling changes. Perhaps that is the strongest point and weakest point of this album. It lulls you into its sound, and if you don't pay attention the details may become lost. However, if you do pay attention, you will be rewarded with excellent music, with complex arrangements and pretty good lyrics. I highly suggest this album, both to Samael fans and to people who may want to check out Samael, as it is a good place to start. It is even better if you find the edition with Worship Him like mine, two classic cds for the price of one, perfect deal.

Track Listing:
1: Epilogue
2: Beyond the Nothingness
3: Poison Infiltration
4: After the Sepulture
5: Macabre Operette
6: Blood Ritual
7: Since the Creation
8: With the Gleam of the Torches
9: Total Consecration
10: Bestial Devotion
11: ..Until The Chaos

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