A good but slightly frustrating listen, this one.
The first full length by Finland's Behexen, 'Rituale Satanum' is raw, fast and aggressive black metal in that inimitably Finnish style spearheaded by guitarist Shatraug, also of fellow scene luminaries Horna and Sargeist.
The focus is on sharp, tremolo riffs and dirgey grooves, interspersed with blazing, sorrowful melodies, though things are a little less well executed than on the band's subsequent efforts, songs fading into a wash of endless buzzsaw riffing and clattering drums before redeeming themselves with sudden startling arrangements where everything just fits.
The production is suitably fuzzy and very raw, but sounds oddly clean at the same time. It doesn't have the savage coarseness of, say, Horna's "Envaatnags Eflos Solf Esgantaavne", but its far from sterile sounding either, and ultimately it gets the job done. The vocals are extremely coarse high pitched screams, and sound just a little bit comical at times, reminding of Hat's vocals on Gorgoroth's early releases, but they too ultimately fit with the overall aesthetic and dynamic of the music.
With 'Rituale Satanum', Behexen are honing their craft, and though not stunning there's enough evil atmosphere and frenetic, gratifyingly raw riffs here to make it well worth picking up for fans of the old Norwegian/Finnish styles of BM.
1. Intro / The Summoning 01:05
2. Sota Valon Jumalaa Vastaan 03:33
3. Night of the Blasphemy 04:46
4. Christ Forever Die 05:31
5. Towards the Father 03:55
6. Saatanan Varjon Synkkyydessä 05:55
7. Baphomet's Call... 05:42
8. The Flames of the Blasphemer 05:44
9. Blessed Be the Darkness 04:21
10. Rituale Satanum 04:02