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Review for 'Ravencult - Temples of Torment'
While some Black Metal albums are simply impressive, others go that extra mile and after impressing you first, they then proceed to completely blow you away. Ravencult's Temples Of Torment is one of these albums, and it leaves a long-lasting impression for some surprisingly simple reasons.
While it has pretty much become an unspoken rule for all new and upcoming Black Metal bands to try and innovate, evolve, add something new to the genre or simply try and be original (and fail in the process half of the time) in order to avoid elitist criticism, a few bands like Ravencult actually understand where Black Metal's original sound and meaning come from and are not ashamed to pay tribute to the genre's roots. Futhermore, not only do they pay tribute, they do so in a very honest and sinister manner.
That said, Ravencult aren't exactly a new band, being formed back in 2001 in Athens, Greece. As with many underground Greek Black Metal bands, Ravencult do a fine job of focusing on the music itself instead of letting trivial matters such as corpsepaint and arty album covers get in the way of things.
With Temples Of Torment, their debut full length album, Ravencult have excelled at creating a straight-forward aural offensive that sharpens the senses, gradually creating an addiction with some fantastic songs which are all catchy and memorable in one way or another by following the old school and traditional methods of Black Metal songwriting. Another key feature of Temples Of Torment is the great aggressive vocal performance by Linos.
To put it simply, Temples Of Torment is filled with equal amounts of break-neck speed-driven Black Metal brutality, heavy-as-fuck slow segments, and everything in between, all executed with some extremely raw yet perfectly fitting production values that make some of Darkthrone's albums almost sound digitally remastered in comparison. Some stand-out tracks include "In Times Of Demise" that just gets heavier and faster as the song advances, "Commence The Burning Of The Heavens" which has some awesome changes in tempo, and the album's longest song "The Nightsky Codex", which as well as being an epic Black Metal anthem all by itself, also has one of the most addictive and memorable riffs ever created.
The album's finishing touch, and possibly the only added "details" are the identical intro and outro segments that are highly distorted samples of what appears to be a roman catholic rite, giving Temples Of Torment the final coat of religious mockery that, in any case, wasn't really necessary, since Ravencult's blasphemous song titles, hostile lyrics and thought-provoking album title do more than a good job of attacking religious establishments, the ultimate goal of any true Black Metal.
What other albums sound similar to this?
For all it's apparent simplicity and conventional framework, Ravencult's Temples Of Torment does have a unique feel to it that makes it hard to compare with other albums. Even Ravencult's follow up album Morbid Blood has a slightly different feel, although while this is obviously a good thing, it's still the closest you will ever come to finding an album sounding similar to Temples Of Torment. Unfortunately Ravencult have not released any more material to date with the exception of a couple of demos and one EP which differ notably from their full length recordings, and while they are decent you will have to venture into other band's discographies in order to find similar sounding albums to Temples Of Torment.
For starters, Aura Noir's classic Black Thrash Attack is the album that first comes to mind, but you can also try some of Gorgoroth's albums like Under The Sign Of Hell, Pentagram and their latest release Quantos Possunt Ad Satanitatem Trahunt.
Other vaguely similar albums would be Watain's Sworn To The Dark, Ljå's Til Avsky For Livet, Tsjuder's Desert Northern Hell, Glorior Belli's Manifesting The Raging Beast and Urgehal's Massive Terrestrial Strike, although all of these albums have a generally faster tempo and somewhat cleaner production that diminishes the relation to Temples Of Torment and all but underlines the latter's uniqueness.
Other bands also worth mentioning in the same context as Ravencult are Chelmno, Dødsfall and Bone Awl.
In a nutshell...
Ravencult's Temples Of Torment is a welcome return to the roots of Black Metal, proving that the Old School origins of the genre are very much alive and, when executed correctly, can really turn out to be something wonderful. There is absolutely nothing false, fancy or pretentious about Temples Of Torment, it's about as bare, straightforward and absolute as Black Metal can get. Everything about this album is spot on.
Site Admin - BestBlackMetalAlbums.com
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