Blood Ritual - _At the Mountains of Madness_
(Moribund Records, 1997)
by: Aaron McKay (8.5 out of 10)
Some pretty incredible music has come across my path in recent months, and Blood Ritual's _At the Mountains of Madness_ is no exception. I was pretty taken with the title of the album. It wasn't mindless and it immediately created an image of strife and disturbance. In a nutshell, it communicated to me what was in store. The next to catch my attention was the disc cover; smooth-featured ladies fronting an unnervingly deprave background; more foreshadowing, methinks. Upon my first spin, I was duly invigorated by the potent viciousness of the music, as it chunks along in places then systematically rips straight through to your core in others. Musically, this bad boy would easily have been a 9 maybe, even a 9.5, but here comes my sticking point: lyrical content. It gets a touch repetitive and obtuse. Now that this has been aired, I -honestly- don't mind the way Blood Ritual incorporates their ideology into _AtMoM_. As a matter of personal opinion, I think that BR accomplish fusing their chosen philosophy with the raw power of this music better than anyone, including Deicide, Morbid Angel, (insert band here). Because I give them this much credit, I only had heart enough to appropriate a half to a full point from the rating of _AtMoM_. Please do not let this detract you from this purchase, because any negatives are more than compensated for by the dynamism of the music. Highlights on _AtMoM_ come immediately at the disc's genesis with "Invocation". A morbidly crushing juggernaut of a song, beginning with an excerpt from one of the "Hellraiser" movies (I believe). Clocking in at seven plus minutes, a complex tune and, as it turns out, my favorite on _AtMoM_. "Ancient Rites" is another beautifully worked piece. Choppier and crunchier than "Invocation", this song slides into a rush of guitar power showing BR's mastery of their domain. To a large extent, track seven, "Sweet Suffering", is the true powerhouse of this release; very weighty in the vocals, but the slow pummelling of the riffs are punctuated so perfectly with a solo about half way through the song that it is simply mind-blowing! The release ends with my second favorite track, "Cruciform Antithesis". The beginning and ending tracks are, candidly, completely equal, acting as bookends for a complete library of well-executed mayhem in between. My only justification for liking one better than the other is the fact that I was exposed to "Invocation" first. See what you think!

(article published 1/10/1998)


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