This Belgian Black Metal band has been around forever (or at least it seems that way) and though they have been around a long time, this is only their third full-length album (they have a “best of” album and a couple 7-inch EPs floating around as well). This album’s topic might put off some people as European Nationalism is generally considered along the same lines as Nazism (the Germans refer to their homeland as “the fatherland” as do some other Germanic peoples). Lyrically, this is totally apolitical. They don’t endorse any form of government and I really have no problem with the sort of nationalism that Gunther and the boys are displaying. You can love your land, your country and your people without being racist and this is exactly what they are espousing here. Musically, this runs the gamut of Metal styles, ranging from the Traditional, Melodic Metal to Black Metal with touches of European Folk. While this has definitely been done before, Ancient Rites does a good job of keeping things interesting. The only thing I had a problem with was the fact that I thought that the drums were a bit too loud. There are times when the snare buries the guitar and when you’re doing a guitar solo or a melodic riff, the last thing you need is someone doing a blast beat on an overly loud snare. When the drumming is slow, things are fine, but when the speed jumps to a higher level, things get drowned out. One wonders if they will keep evolving in this direction… I guess the only way to tell is to wait for their next album and find out.
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