“ Artist: Ancient Rites / Genre: Hard Rock & Metal „
'Evil Prevails' was Ancient Rites' first release after a demo and a couple of split recordings, and was self-financed through the Belgian band's own Fallen Angel Records. Recorded before Mayhem, Emperor, Immortal and the rest launched black wave into its second wave that proved to be definitive, this fifteen-minute recording is a nice piece of history from back when black metal didn't all sound the same, and was quite clearly struggling to find an easily replicable identity.
There are clear elements of Venom's dark heavy metal style here, but Ancient Rites are innovating even at this stage, combining thrash elements and some really weird vocals from Günther, whose prominent bass guitar lines and guttural gurgles are frequently indistinguishable. The themes are all the usual laughable Satanic and deliberately provocative anti-Christian stuff that all these bands were throwing around whether they meant it or not, and the music itself is pleasantly varied from heavily atmospheric songs with a slow pace and whispered evil in the first couple, to the more Venom-like offerings later on, faster and with some great scary lead guitars screeching from the speakers in the style of early Slayer. The best songs are the evocative 'Longing for the Ancient Kingdom' and the great 'Evil Prevails,' though both suffer from some fairly boring and repetitive middle sections between Bart and Pascal's eerier guitars, the intro and conclusion sections of the title song being particularly enjoyable.
As an early E.P. this is entertaining and historically intriguing, though really fails to give any idea what the band would sound like with a more ambitious full-length album to consider. Günther's vocals are unique, and it's always refreshing to hear some old-school black metal even when it follows the more disappointing pathfinder laid out by Venom rather than the far superior Bathory.
1. Götterdammerung (Intro)
2. Longing for the Ancient Kingdom
3. Obscurity Reigns - Fields of Flanders
4. Evil Prevails
5. Black Plague