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The start of a black metal legend - 75%

Felix 1666, November 18th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2004, CD, Dynamic Arts Records (Reissue, Remastered)

Behexen, Azaghal and Horna are the bands that embody Finnish black metal more than any other formation from the land of the thousand lakes. This does not mean that each and every of their releases achieves top ratings, but their art is somehow shrouded in mystery, opaque and totally uncompromising. "Rituale Satanum" does not lack omnipresent darkness and the fact that the man at the bass guitar calls himself "Lunatic" comes as no surprise. Especially the vocals add an element of insanity to the art of Behexen, while the individual songs always reveal a comprehensible scheme without boring the audience with verse-chorus-verse patterns. "Christ Forever Die", for example, shows a clear structure and, by the way, its voluminous guitar work lends the tune a fatalistic touch. The mesmerizing melodies at the end must be mentioned as well. They provide evidence that Behexen are familiar with the sound of hypnotic Burzum songs, but they just take some inspiration from Varg's classics without being copycats in any way. Already the debut sends clear signals; the potential of the dudes who carry the torch of the devil cannot be denied. Just listen to "Towards the Father", another great, more or less insane piece without any major flaws - only the ending comes too abrupt.

"Rituale Satanum" features the riffing which has become characteristic for Behexen, this kind of riff that pushes the listener steadily closer and closer to the abyss. It opens the first regular track and generally speaking, the guitar work is really dense, pretty undifferentiated and brutal. Fans of Bathory's "The Return..." will love it - and they will not be the only ones. Nevertheless, it also becomes clear that some parts lack coherence and precision. They fail to leave an impact, but fortunately this remains the exception, not the norm. In hindsight, it is not difficult to realize that the song-writing skills of the band members made a quantum leap between the debut and "By the Blessing of Satan", even though we are just talking about a small number of ill-defined details on the here presented output. In rare cases, the music conveys a tinge of a ritual (the beginning of "Baphomet's Call", for instance), even though this is no celebration of occult rites. The album originates from Finland, not from Greece... However, "Rituale Satanum" constitutes a fitting name for this package of Satanic adoration, although the worshippers of the devil fail to deliver the maximum intensity from time to time.

"Blessed be the Darkness" scores with the best riff of the album. It seems to herald the triumph of the hellish regime and stands out on a debut which suffers slightly from a more or less impure mix. Especially the fast sections appear clotted and so good songs like "The Flames of the Blasphemer" cannot develop their full potential. But at the end of the day, the demonic nagging of the lead singer, the combination of harshness and atmosphere and the dense overall sound shape an album that fulfils its purpose. It marks the start of a black metal legend of our time and embodies Finnish black metal in a competent way.

An enjoyable experience. - 90%

Zerstorer1611, July 4th, 2014

Before the utterly boring and generic music that Behexen has been releasing these last years, these Finnish black metallers actually offered a satisfying and fulfilling kind of black metal, one that was particularly aggressive but in no way overdone or exaggerated like Marduk did, aggressive, fast and crushing yet cold at the same time.

Rituale Satanum kicks off with a short intro and an invocation to Leviathan, Belial, Lucifer and Satan, after which we can hear the very first riff of the album which showcases a clear thrash influence while the drums blast faintly in the background. After a bit of this Hoath Torog comes in. I'd like to emphasize his unusual vocal style, a throaty rasp, I really wonder if Hoath didn't end up with a bad case of sore throat after recording this album as the vocals surely sound quite harsh.

The music is really fast, lots of blast beats and typical tremolo-picked riffs; what makes Behexen stand out is the balance regarding the instrumentation, the drums are not overly loud in the mix and thus manage to maintain the pace of the riffs, which also have a decent volume and are the main driving force in the music. The riffs sound cold and sharp, with several changes throughout the tracks, keeping the music fresh and interesting despite it's simplicity. There are also slower interludes in which the riffs and the drum patterns take a more "thrashy" sound, giving you a break from the constant blasting and tremolo-picked riffs. There are also a couple of solos here and there, particularly one in "Towards the Father" which sounds incredibly evil and very fitting to the general pace and feel of the music.

The production here leans towards the cleaner side yet manages to be sufficiently rough at the same time. The drums have a nice, organic sound that doesn't hears plastic, triggered or manipulated like so many bands do now, the riffs also maintain that freezing and hateful edge while being clearly identifiable.

All in all Rituale Satanum is an enjoyable experience, it doesn't really brings anything new, nor does it innovate much but it isn't a blatant Darkthrone rip-off like so many other black metal bands out there. And definitely isn't a genre essential, but regardless it is a solid effort. Behexen takes a lot of influence from Norwegian acts, mixes it and then spices it a bit with it's own flavour; this is an honest, organic and sincere, it doesn't tries to be excessively brutal. It's clear that Behexen had a clear idea of what they wanted to do, solid and grim black metal to keep the flame alive and burning, and they do it really well.

Silver dagger of ritual sacrifice - 88%

Storfeth, October 4th, 2012

The musical approach of Behexen's first full length attempt had already been foreshadowed from their second demo, where someone can find three tracks, that were later re-recorded for this album. In this release, Behexen practically find their own musical identity, which will characterize them in the future as well. The first track is a satanic invocation, and prepares the listener for what is about to follow: A whirlwind of blasphemy and adoration to Lucifer.

The guitar plays satanic, commanding riffs, such as the one that opens "Night of the Blasphemy", while a rather unexpected solo can be heard in "Towards the Father". Also, the melodies match perfectly with the blasphemous lyrics that are spit out of Hoath Torog's mouth, and contain various expressions of worship to Satan and the dark forces. There are two tracks written in the Finnish language, but they don't seem to diverge from the general thematology of the album.

Drums alternate between middle and fast tempo, while they do not offer anything special other than the basic elements that someone can hear in black metal, apart from some nice fills and blastbeats. With a little attention, the bass can also be heard, merely playing along with the guitar. In comparison with the first demo, keyboards are practically absent, except for the use of a church organ in "Saatanan Varjon Synkkyydessa" and “The Flames of the Blasphemer”, which adds some extra feeling to the already ceremonial concept of this release.

This is an excellent example of unadulterated black metal, without any pretentiously provocative acts. It represents nothing different than a satanic ritual, as signified by the title, and should satisfy anyone that is fond of this genre.

Originally written for: The Lair of Storfeth

Black Metal ist Krieg! - 88%

black_slime, March 26th, 2012

This totally pure black metal creation of Behexen lives up to it's black metal label in spite of it's creation in the year 2000. So you can calmly call them carriers of the Mayhem torch of that raw misanthropic black metal sound we all crave for in this particular genre. So blessed be the darkness.

Although their music is not totally conventional black metal, example Burzum, they incorporate a lot of raw sound into it and in the end getting a distinctive original sound that makes them stand out as one of few innovative and original bands in the flood of mediocre black metal albums that emerged in the new millennium. So mix of the sickly dirty guitar distortion with just a tiny bit melodic touch at some points make the atmosphere riffage creates sound satanical and tortured, melancholic. In other words perfect. But the atmosphere wouldn't be complete without the rawness of the simplistic punk parts in the riffage and the breakdowns, with an up-beat slimy rhythm, at some points which slow down songs and in the end make you go into a whole-song-head-bang-session. So riffage gets 20% for being absolutely satanical and perfect in every aspect of black metal possible.

But riffage is not the only thing responsible for this explosion of extremely good black metal. Of course the martyred vocals do their part in all of this. High pitch shrieks of terror which sometims shrink down to deep gnarly growling make a perfect match with the riffage and thus make the atmosphere more misanthropic and satanical. Lyrics on the other hand are plain black metal-related stuff,.But the way they're written is awesome. They sound almost poetic at some points, but when you take a look at them( the ones that aren't in Finnish), and consider the vocals shrieking those exact words, they rip your brain with that terror sound and the whole blackness scenery. Imagine Edgar Allan Poe being a lyricist for this band, that's how good the lyrics are . So vocals get 20% for being fucking awesome and pure epic evil and lyrics get 16% for being almost perfect in every literature aspect possible.

But of course there's the core of the Behexen sound, drumming and bass line. Drumming is a pure machine, simple straight to the point rhythm, good rhythmic beating and keeping the whole sound together like a strong metal safe. Bass line complements the drumming like a puzzle thus giving a greasy drossy ring to it, banging like a bell, being a straight out of hell evil absolute bass monster. So drums get a solid 15% for being more solid than steel and bass line gets 17% for being so damn good.

All in all this album deserves it's praise absolutely and is worth listening to if you like the pure savagery of one the most finest black metal bands that emerged in the last 15 years. It most certainly keeps the black metal torch lit and guards it like a fucking cerebrus. Ave Satanas! Eius gloria aeternam est!

Rituale Satanum - 89%

Noctir, November 23rd, 2011

The most unfortunate thing about Behexen's debut album, Rituale Satanum, is that it emerged about seven or eight years too late. Released by Sinister Figure in July 2000, this L.P. has a great deal in common with the early-to-mid '90s output from the Norwegian Black Metal scene. In many ways, Behexen picked up from where Gorgoroth left off, as they traveled down a mediocre path and left their trademark sound behind, this Finnish band carried on the legacy of Pentagram and Antichrist.

The music features a lot of ideas similar to those that were explored on the aforementioned Gorgoroth full-lengths. There is the utilization of a good number of fast tremolo-picked riffs that owe a lot to Darkthrone and Mayhem, while also employing some open chord sections reminiscent of Burzum. In addition, a healthy does of Thrash is injected, here and there, hearkening back to the early songwriting of Infernus, who seems to have influenced Gargantum's guitar-playing. This also includes the tendency to toss in rather epic melodies. If that was not enough, Hoath Torog's vocals are very similar to Hat and Pest, being very high-pitched and nearly indecipherable. There are some instances of deeper vocals being added as well, which is quite unnecessary and taints the songs a bit. Most all of the songs are dominated by a fast tempo, up until "Saatanan Varjon Synkkyydessä", which slows things down a little. Even as the drumming picks up, the riffs are still mid-paced and possess a morbid feeling. Still, the Norwegian feeling is present for the most part. "Baphomet's Call" is where the material takes on more of a Finnish sound, bearing similarities to Horna.

This record has fairly decent production. It suits the style, though there is something disingenuous about it. The guitars are the most prominent element in the mix, which is dead on, but the distortion does not seem right. The fuzziness appears to be coming more from the bass than the guitar, and it is a little too loud. This helps to add to the raw sound, but it gives off more of a feeling that they were trying to get a grim sound with nice equipment, rather than recording in a truly lo-fi manner. The drums are loud enough to do the job, but kept in the middle where they are not able to interfere with the riffs. The vocals are slightly buried, but this probably helps a lot since one cannot really tell what Torog is saying anyway, and it cannot be said enough that the riffs should always be the most important thing in Metal.

Rituale Satanum is a solid record and is a must-have for anyone that was saddened to see Gorgoroth degenerate the way that they did, after their first few records. This has just about everything that one would want in a follow-up to Under the Sign of Hell, just at a slightly lower level of quality. This beats anything that the other Finnish bands, such as Horna and Clandestine Blaze, were up to at this point. This L.P. really does not offer up anything new or original, but for those that are into the Norwegian sound, this should be a great addition to your collection.

Written for

Ritual Staple - 90%

Tzeench, March 17th, 2008

For a more modern Finnish black metal act since the dissolving of first neighboring pioneers Beherit, Behexen have got their black metal cut out for them. Well steeped into the tar of evil, satanic ejaculate, this band has a clear connection and understanding of the Norwegian elite scene, especially being formed in 1994, the tail end of the Second Wave.

Behexen have taken their sweet time to make what they consider their own masterpiece through patience and suffering, and just six years after their creation they arrive with their debut Rituale Satanum, a fairly convincing release, well-played and orchestrated, maybe not 110% original, but definitely an honest attempt well done. Who says there’s something wrong being influenced in the Norwegian’s shadow? Who isn’t nowadays?

The album begins with an introduction incantation of vocalist Hoath Torog chanting for Satan. One of the first few satanic incantations I’ve heard that actually DOES NOT sound cheesy, it actually sounds quite good – very dark. This is one of the only few tracks where his voice is both clear, annunciate and understandable in his speech. The rest of the album, he carries with the quintessential, albeit slightly over-the-top raspy, screeching vocals. They are good vocals, but very muddled, unclear and sometimes a tad rambling. It would have been better if Torog would annunciate his words a little more, but luckily it doesn’t take much away from the album. Many of the riffs take on a mid to fast paced tempo with a perfect balance of distortion, overdrive, reverb, fuzz and extra gritty feedback from the guitars and bass, while the drums keep up with a natural sound (not triggered of course, yay for Thorns!) and pseudo-syncopation between blast beats and D-beats.

There’s definitely a hint of First Wave black metal influence here, most likely a mix of Bathory, Venom, Hellhammer and even – I would say – a hint of old Sodom.

The only real weakness to this album would be some of the mumbled echoed voices in the background at certain times in certain songs, which albeit are reasonable – the best mumbles heard on “Christ Forever Die,” but also distracting at times. Additionally, the only biggest “wart” on this album is the cheesy, high-pitch-shifted evil laughs heard near the very end of “The Flames of the Blasphemer.” Those would have been best left out…very cheesy.

All in all, this is nonetheless a great black metal release from this Finnish outfit. I definitely recommend for your quintessential black metalist, anywhere from newcomer to long-time connoisseur. Blessed is the darkness…

Rituale Satanum - 75%

Perplexed_Sjel, December 24th, 2006

Scandinavia, the home of Black Metal. A place which has never been known as underrated when it comes to producing some of the worlds greatest Black Metal bands. Acts such as Burzum, Mayhem and Darkthrone have long taken the credit for producing the regions best Black Metal music, but in the shadows are a number of underrated bands who are equally as talented just waiting for their chance to shine. Behexen is one of those bands. Formed in 1994 they're no newcomers to the Black Metal scene in Finland. As you can tell they've actually been around for a long time, spawning from the depths of hell around Black Metal's most notable era in fact.

One of the most blasphemous and ungodly acts you'll hear for a long time, Behexen released their debut album "Rituale Satanum" some six years after their creation. Consisting of ten tracks of sheer aggression, the album totals in at just over 44 minutes. When i first came across Behexen, which wasn't until only recently, i decided it would only be fair to check out their earliest release as opposed to their latest "By The Blessing Of Satan". I'm glad i made such a decision. Both albums are completely different in almost every sense of the word. "Rituale Satanum" is by far more aggressive and more raw in sound. This is up there with the "grimmest" of albums released in the genre of Black Metal. It's generally fast, sometimes varying it's speed. Blast beats over constant tremolo picking make this one hell of an assault of the ears. It certainly packs one hell of a punch. A completely uncompromising piece of work. The vocals are somewhat odd. They're completely indecipherable for the most part until some seldom spoken parts. For me, the vocals tarnish this album. They're generic and uninspiring. As the previous reviewer funnily stated, he truly does sound like a high pitched Donald Duck. It's actually quite comical come to think of it. Every song, however comical the vocals are, is played with such conviction and emotion that you can look passed that aspect of the music. The production of this record is somewhat static, but it's not that much of a hindrance to the listener. Behexen's first offering is a blasphemous and brutal assault. It's enjoyable, but not a classic. Worth listening to.

Highlights include: Christ Forever Die and Blessed Be The Darkness.


Enigma666, March 11th, 2005

I consider Behexen to be tragically underrated in the current black metal scene, which is most unfortunate as they are an excellent band and are certainly the next big thing to emerge from Finland, which has rapidly became the new spawning-pit of pestilent black metal.
Naturally, for those who have heard both Behexen albums, they will know that “By the blessing of Satan” os a black metal masterpiece, they will sadly also know that this is no “BTBOS” however; comparing it to its descendent would be unfair.
The intro, “The Summoning” features an invocation of the four princes of hell, a hopelessly generic intro perhaps, but then generic satan worship makes up much of Behexens lyrical skill.
The first real track “Sota Vaoln Tumalaa Vastaan” now emerghes from the mist, spouting Finnish lyrics combined with a more high pitched”Donald duck” sounding vocal delivery it makes for a poor opener vocal wise, but music wise it is excellent featuring some excellent riffs in Behexens usual disarrayed structure, the drums are often pretty hidden in the rather poor mix, however the power behind the song itself more than makes up for these inadequacies, there is a very real sincerity to Behexens music which is so absent in most of the scene today.
“Night of the Blasphemy” begins with equally annoying vocals and equally excellent music, what is most interesting perhaps is the fat the vocals go unerringly well with the music- despite their shoddiness, which actually conceals it quite elegantly. There are some truly amazing riffs in the middle of this song, as well as slower drum work combined with pretty generic lyrics which perhaps would take this record down a grade- were it not once again for the conviction behind this. Did I mention the lyrics are TOTALLY inaudible for the majority of the record- you have to read the leaflet to understand, and then most of the tracks are missing.
This particular song breaks into a faster series of riff and screams towards the end, if satanic black metal is what you want, Behexen provide it.
“Christ forever die” starts off slower than its predecessors, with slower more “desperate” riffs before picking up into a black metal storm almost resembling early darkthrone “
In fact, most of the aforementioned applies to the rest of the record, generic “satanic” lyrics, excellent musicmanship, poor production and “Donald duck” vocals, overall an excellent record for fans of Immortal looking for heavier stuff (since awful vocals are Immortals forte), people looking for satanic black metal, people who wish to here more of Behexens past, or people who just like Finland, take your pick, but if you want to hear Behexen for the first time- I recommend “by the blessing of satan”.