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Ancient Rites - Rubicon (CD)

Ancient Rites
by Elina Papadoyianni at 19 October 2006, 4:34 PM

The quest of those who claim that Belgium exports more than chocolate is over. This Belgian band must be mentioned in every tourist guide of the country. Ancient Rites created a black piece of metal called Rubicon that contains the wrath of ancient battle heroes and they have just thrown it onto their fans in an explosive manner!
It has been five years since Ancient Rites last released an album. Back then it was Dim Carcosa that came to demonstrate the band's ability to create powerful, inspired melodic black metal music and indeed their work had been much praised to date. Five years however is still a long pause and many wondered how the Belgian band would come back. Well they could not have chosen a more emphatic way to do so. Rubicon was definitely worth the wait as well as the various changes that Ancient Rites underwent. Gunther Theys who gave up the bass to the band's ex-keyboardist Domingo Smets to concentrate on vocals, managed to bring back two former members, Bart Vandereycken (guitar) in the place of Jan Yrlund and Raf Jansen (also guitarist), bringing the total number of band members to seven! The end result is perfect. The sound is technically superior to their last album and with the professional touch in production by Oliver Phillips and Christian Moos, Rubicon is a masterpiece.
The album itself retains the epic atmosphere that characterises Ancient Rites. There are many great riffs and the choruses are strong and will immediately catch on you from the first spin. The tracks that stand out are Thermopylae and Ypres. With the intro of Thermopylae you can just put yourself within the 300 Spartan heroes of history, ready to unleash hell at commander Leonidas', order! In Ypres, we find the contribution of female vocalist Rute Fevereiro that bonds quite well with Gunther's grunts. Apart from the successful transitions from epic martial parts to melancholic interludes, another thing that I noticed after the first couple of sessions is the way in which the order of the tracks has been chosen. The linkage between them is great and makes the whole album more rigid, both in terms of sound and story.
Rubicon is an album that will do for Ancient Rites's next one, what its predecessor, Dim Carcosa, did for it; set the standards very high!

4 Star Rating

Crusade (intro)
Gunther Theys - Vocals
Bart Vandereycken - Guitar
Erik Sprooten - Guitar
Raf Jansen - Guitar
Domingo Smets - Bass
Davy Wouters - Keyboards
Walter Vancortenberg - Drums
Record Label: Season Of Mist


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