Behexen - Rituale Satanum (reissue)
Debemur Morti Productions
Black Metal
10 songs (44:34)
Release year: 2013
Behexen, Debemur Morti Productions
Reviewed by Goat

Originally released in 2000, this reissue of Behexen’s debut full-length will be welcome to those who hadn’t leant it their ears, the original being limited to 500 copies. It’s not the best material from the band – I’m going to make myself unpopular and say it’s actually probably the worst of the four full-lengths that the band has put out – but the gleeful Satanic wrath that is the Behexen signature is strong here, and carries the music along on a wave of enthusiastic darkness. From the opening incantation of Intro/The Summoning, where a screeching voice demands the presence of demons, it’s hard not to enjoy the music as the most headbanging Satanic ritual out there. First track proper Sota Valon Jumalaa Vastaan kicks off with a necksnapping, almost grindcore riff with furious shrieked vocals, punky and repetitive, yet develops into a blistering black metal tune, oddly brilliantly.

And that’s really the nub of the matter; a lot of your enjoyment of Rituale Satanum will depend on how willing you are to engage with a band who blast for Satan utterly and inexorably. The songwriting is varied enough to keep you interested, moving between blastfests and more atmospheric pieces in the same songs, and there’s a level of quality present that ensures each track has something to offer. Generally, the best moments will have fans of early Emperor in raptures; Night of the Blasphemy is one, fuzzy riffs forming a classic sound easily lovable by those familiar with the genre. It pales in comparison to the following almighty Christ Forever Die, however, which is simply terrific, definitely the catchiest track present. Constantly building up with infectious riff patterns and some of vocalist Hoath Torog’s most demented screams, the track simply rampages along.

From then on, the album feels a little like it’s trying to chase that high peak in terms of songwriting, although the sheer savagery of Towards the Father will impress. Sataanon Varjon Synkkyydessä returns to the punky grinding sound of earlier, before speeding up into a black metal blastathon and even throwing a doomy breakdown and some Church organ in. Baphomet’s Call continues the doomy sound at first, speeding up into a groovy stomper Carpathian Forest style, and The Flames of the Blasphemer has a nice atmospheric touch, closing with oddly chilling witchy laughter. None of these will stay with you long, but there’s nothing actually wrong with them as pieces of black metal – as a whole, Rituale Satanum is a solid album that will please fans of the genre’s early days and provides proof that even in Behexen’s earlier days it was a good band.

Killing Songs :
Night of the Blasphemy, Christ Forever Die, Towards the Father, Baphomet’s Call
Goat quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Behexen that we have reviewed:
Behexen - Nightside Emanations reviewed by Tony and quoted 87 / 100
Behexen - By the Blessing of Satan reviewed by Charles and quoted 90 / 100
Behexen - My Soul for His Glory reviewed by Charles and quoted 75 / 100
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