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Dark Rites - The Dark Hymns

Dark Rites
The Dark Hymns
by Kevin Tanza at 10 August 2020, 12:31 AM

DARK RITES are back! After a year with no official releases in 2019, the British band has returned with their third studio album, 2020’s “The Dark Hymns”. Released via Brutal Records, if you are looking for straightforward Death Metal with a few melodic undertones, then you have come to the right place.

You only have to listen to the opening track, “Divine Duplicity”, to understand that you are dealing with a band that is not fooling around: in less than a minute you are already hit by everything the band has and the new vocalist, Kole Blooded, shows that he is good enough to fill in the boots as the group’s singer, screaming his heart out. The melodic interlude is quite good and the song just hits you with some of the best riffs in the album.

If you think that was intense, than wait for “Goliath the Coward”. Guitarist Wojtek Widuch shows his talents here, with riff after riff of sheer insanity and adding of rhythm changes that make the experience all the more enjoyable. The band is tight as hell and it fits with the music style they are performing. On the other hand, I think the third track, “In Stasis”, shows drummer Randy Kaciak having a key role and stealing the show for the band; there are still a lot of solid riffs, but I think the drumming parts are simply too good.

It’s with the song “Moira” that DARK RITES slows down the tempo just a bit to add a little of atmosphere in the track and I think it is a smart move as it shows the band’s musical flexibility. There are a few modern tendencies in the way the song is structure, with that start-stop riff that Wojtek Widuch does. The melodic Death Metal influences are in full swing with the song “Scars”, with both the guitarist and the drummer pulling off some star performances; they are the strongest part of the album, no question about that, but I have to admit that Kole Blooded is no slouch either when it comes to the vocal department. The band sounds very tight and precise, with adds a layer of complexity to this music style –I believe Death Metal sounds a lot better when it’s very precise.

Serena” is one of the most generic tracks of the whole experience, with the band sounding a little bit generic and aiming for brutality for brutality’s sake. I think DARK RITES shines when they slow down the tempo a little and I think we can see that in the song “Shadow God”, where they allow the riffs to “breather a little bit”. Once Kole Blooded sounds like a beast and he complements the guitar parts quite well, thus showing that this new lineup has a very strong chemistry.

We can hear a notorious difference in the way the guitar sounds with “The Devils Heroes”, with Wojtek Widuch taking center stage with his work on the strings. It is one of the strongest songs of the entire album, in my view, and I think it’s a very interesting introduction to listeners if they are not familiar with DARK RITES. And we finally end the album with “The Great Halcyon War”, which could be viewed as an “epic” of sorts for the band, but I think that would be an unfitting characterization. Regardless of tags and labels, the band sounds in top shape here and it’s a very strong, fast-paced and heavy song to end a very homogeneous musical effort.

The Dark Hymns” knows what it is and it is not trying to pretend to be something else. It is a very straightforward Death Metal album with some melodic elements and it is performed with a trio of musicians that certainly know their craft. It’s not for everybody, but Death Metal never is. It might be lacking in the originality department, but the quality is certainly there.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

1. Divine Duplicity
2. Goliath the Coward
3. In Stasis
4. Moira
5. Scars
6. Serena
7. Shadow God
8. The Devils Heroes
9. The Great Halcyon War
Randy Kaciak - Drums
Wojtek Widuch – Guitars/Bass
Kole Blooded - Vocals
Record Label: Brutal Records


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Edited 01 October 2020

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