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Ancient Rites – The Diabolic Serenades [original]


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Though its founding members had been active in the local scene since the early '80s, the band known as Ancient Rites was only officially formed in 1989 by Gunther Theys (bass/vocals), Philip and Johan (guitars), and Stefan (drums). One of Belgium's only black metal groups of note (requisite corpse paint and all), they were star-crossed from the start, with both Philip (killed in a car accident) and Stefan (suicide) meeting premature deaths shortly after recording their ‘Dark Ritual’ demo. Choosing to carry on in their honor, Theys kept Ancient Rites alive with the help of guitarist Bart Vandereycken and drummer Walter van Cortenberg, but it wasn't until 1994 (following countless low-key split releases) that they finally recorded a debut album entitled ‘The Diabolic Serenades’. By then, black metal had risen to prominence (and infamy) by highly questionable means, via the criminal acts perpetrated by members of its Norwegian contingent, and Ancient Rites reluctantly rode the surge of interest as well. This debut album is so evil. For a 3-piece, these guys put together a great sounding album, a little thin, but great nonetheless. The drumming is clean and precise, and the vocals are uniquely monstrous. As opposed to the standard fuzzy guitar sound, Ancient Rites opt for bassy, trainwreck riffs that rip through the whole album. Unfortunately, they turned a bit folky/medieval after The Diabolic Serenades, and Gunther must have warped his throat because the vocals kinda pooped out. Regardless, this album is essential. Very rare original press from 1994 on After Dark records Track listing: 1. Infant Sacrifices To Baalberith 2. Crucifixion Justified (Roman Supremach) 3. Satanic Rejoice 4. Obscurity Reigns (Fields Of Flanders) 5. Death Messiah 6. Land Of Frost And Despair 7. Ussyrian Empire 8. Longing For The Ancient Kingdom 9. Morbid Glory (Gilles De Rais 1404-1440) 10. Ritual Slayings (Goat Worship Pure) 11. Evil Prevails 12. Last Rites / Echoes Of Meloncholy (Outro)

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After Dark

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