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Naked Star - Ancient Rites

Naked Star
Ancient Rites
by Ofer Mashiach at 24 March 2017, 3:35 AM

NAKED STAR is a rocking Doom Metal duo hailing from Germany. After they released an EP in mid-2016, these industrious lads went ahead and recorded "Ancient Rites," their debut full-length, which was released right before the closing of the year,

So, what is this album all about? First and foremost, the overall down-tuned sound is pretty raw, but not too raw to divert one from enjoying the listening. I believe there's room for improvement in terms of production, because it tends to sound messy at times, causing the instruments to overpower each other. A slight refinement and better balance could have been beneficial. Beyond that, the style could be described as combination of IRON MAN's zest and VOODOOSHOCK's melodies with the huge, pervasive sound of KOMATSU. The overall vibe reminds me of early Doom Metal recordings, before it became a distinct genre, with some Proto-Metal sensibilities.

JIM's singing perfectly matches the style. His mid-range and slightly raspy yet powerful voice sounds passionate and inspired. Also, it seems to me that the arrangements were adjusted to his singing style. TIM, who is in charge of all instruments, it doing a very good job. I must say that even though we are dealing with slow-tempo music, the compositions are very busy, not to say groovy. There are tortuous riffs galore that kept me hooked throughout.

After a relatively long and somewhat pointless intro that does foreshadow things to come, there comes the heavy and vibrant, "Stoned Demon", which makes for an impressive display of power right already from the beginning. The album gets a bit slower afterwards but all other features remain in full force. I find the album sophisticated in the mixed feelings it provides – a sense of old-school musician that attempts to pioneer and cover new grounds on one hand, and very solid and tight songwriting that knows what it's doing, on the other hand.

The duo utilize their strengths to the fullest on "Bound to Hell," which is relatively rhythmical, has huge riffs that fills the air accompanied by hearty vocals, and includes some hooks and melodic interludes that make the whole greater than its component parts. "Alter Ego" follows the line of its former, and the relative simplicity of the droning riffs is causing tension that explodes in the sweeping, loud chorus. "I am the Antichrist" is driven by a "distressing" riff, which amounts to the "doomiest" track on the album. JIM sounds here as if he is preaching, which is definitely summoned by the topic and style of this track.

The album is constructed so that it sounds shorter than its actual duration, which indicates it evokes interest and sucks you in to have you experience its essence without making you analyze it. And the moment where the essence surfaces, all the technical aspects are completely secondary and the band gets what it has bargained for. Any Doom Metal fan should feel comfortable with this album.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. Purgamantic
2. Stoned Demon
3. Spawn of the Witch
4. Be My Sacrifice
5. Bound to Hell
6. Alter Ego
7. I am the Antichrist
8. Necrolust
Tim - Guitars, Bass, Drums
Jim - Vocals
Record Label: The Church Within Records


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Edited 27 November 2022

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