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Rituals of Old Wars - 70%

Petrus_Steele, September 9th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2012, CD, Osmose Productions

Annihilation Rituals is where it all started before launching their debut into the wastelands, Doom Cult. This great compilation album features all four releases before said debut: Demo 1: 2005, their amazing Decimator EP, their three songs from the split with Denouncement Pyre called Chaos Rising which contains new versions of Annihilation Ritual and Doom Cult, and the Sect of Swords EP featuring a new version of Infinite Destruction.

Demo 1: 2005 is very raw and very chaotic, to some incomprehensible extent. Annihilation Ritual begins with a noisy and freaky sound that goes louder with some stomping in the background before the chaos begins. As the music and the disgustingly raw shrieking kicks in, the music goes all over the place: blast beats and shredding guitars left to right, and the vocals going crazy. The riffs are terrifyingly intriguing with the help of even more blast beats as the song progresses. The outro slows the suspense with some doom-like phase and nice drum pattern, along with the shrieking. Infinite Destruction continues the chaos. Although periodically, they continued to use that awesome drum pattern with some catchy riffs. This song also has some powerful guitar solo. Doom Cult would be the most chaotic song on that demo. I mean that song went nuts when it comes to the blast beats and the raw production. Even with its enraging instruments (especially the bass) and scary shrieking, it sounded catchy. Yet even that song sounds a little bit doomy in the bridge - hell it sounds sludgier if down further those genres. But all that comes to an end in a yet another chaotic outro.

Decimator starts with the EP's prelude, Nex. It's got drums and guitars that are overwhelmed by the very loud sound in the background. Though it's just a repetitive prelude to the EP. Once Decimator starts, it's got a strong bass intro with some extra electric noises in the background until the guitars slide in a very doom-ish manner. The riffs are slow, heavy, and crushing. The drums add layers to the intro so well and the sound on the snare is fucking amazing; immediately buying me into this great song. As the vocals kick in, the song goes apeshit with sheer blast beats and fast guitar riffs that end up emitting some great rhythm and melodies. As for the outro, you couldn't ask for a better one. The song transitions into the next song after its loud noise with blast beats and sweep guitar riffage to being Order of the Iron Fist, which lashes at you with its scary shrieking. In comparison, this song is more chaotic than the title track, yet the music is more audible. During the long bridge, you get some Sepultura-like slow clean vocals (yeah... I can't come up with a better example). That's where the song gets more atmospheric. Once that long bridge concludes, the song comes to an end with ferocious blast beats, riffage, and shrieking. Master/Enslaver has the angriest blast beats. The bass during the bridge sounds menacing, and it also has more variety when it comes to the riffage. However, the whole music in that song came out to be rather forgettable. Although not available on Annihilation Rituals and I don't see why it wasn't added to begin with, but on Decimator the band covered Bolt Thrower's All That Remains that doesn't really sound any different than the original, only more chaotic, raw, and obviously has shrieking than death growls.

Diocletian's part in the Chaos Rising split starts with the song which would be later titled on their third full-length, Gesundrian. This song already sounds like a proper successor to Decimator and kinda belongs to that EP. Very consistent riffage, though the bridge already made the song sound bad and annoying. I think by this point you already get the idea of the vocals. As for the two new versions of Doom Cult and Annihilation Ritual. Doom Cult sounds exactly like the demo version, though what made me impressed with the demo version was the mix, whereas the new version has a more comprehensible listen, in spite of its rawness. The outro in the demo version, compared to the new version, was a thousand times better. As for Annihilation Ritual, other than cutting the pointless noisy 1:10 minutes and sounding cleaner it doesn't sound any different. The riffage was rather annoying to tune into.

The second EP, Sect of Swords begins with the new version of Infinite Destruction. Surprisingly, it sounds more chaotic than the demo version, yet not really any different. I think it sounds as good as the demo version in its own right, which in most cases goes to show that a song can be good no matter how different it may sound on other instances. Sect of Swords is simply a raged song that didn't meet the expectations as the majority of the songs have. It sounds forgettable and repetitive. As for the Blasphemy cover of Weltering in Blood, the guitar riffs are surprisingly good. There are no words to describe the blast beats anymore - they're there and do a perfect job.

As you can tell, some songs are not as good as others, though this is still worth your money into entering the band's first material. The demo is so awesome I would get it in a heartbeat. But unfortunately, it's only available on cassette. Considering the band likes and/or supports the old formats, I prefer CDs. The Decimator EP is also worth getting, but don't get your hopes up for Master/Enslaver. Even the Sect of Swords EP wasn't bad, but the only original song on said EP (which is the title track) was the least good. Best tracks are all the tracks on their demo, Decimator, and the Blasphemy cover of Weltering in Blood.