Several moons ago, a certain San Antonio Heavy Metal Examiner promised part two of a feature on the ten most anticipated bands at the upcoming Rites of Darkness festival. After dealing with a severe case of writer’s block (a plague I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy), part two of that feature has finally been written, and has been posted for your own convenience. Part one can be found here. This is not meant to be a comprehensive list, and I don’t want to get any hate mail for leaving any bands out, so keep that in mind as you read ahead.
6) Mortuary Drape
One of the more anticipated bands of Rites of Darkness, Mortuary Drape are one of Italy’s most well-known extreme metal bands, and for good reason. The band adds an old-school approach to black/death metal that is neither too polished nor too inaccessible to all but the fans of the most extreme, lo-fi black metal produced on a four-track recorder somewhere in South America (you know the type). Rather, Mortuary Drape is somewhere in between, with killer riffing with well-executed guitar solos and an audible bass presence. Recommend listening comes in the form of the “All the Witches Dance” album, and when those reverb-soaked vocals kick in combined with the sea of riffs that accompany the blasphemous croaks, you know you’re in for a vile treat. Any in attendance who haven’t heard of the band should brace themselves for an intense set, since Mortuary Drape will undoubtedly be out for blood and are not interested in taking prisoners. It’s gonna be a blast!
Strid’s innovative approach to depressive black metal will be somewhat of an odd man out amongst the Rites of Darkness III lineup, but is an appearance that will be welcomed nonetheless. The gloomy, melancholic hymns to depression will not be for everybody, but anyone privy to morose black metal will take delight in the band’s performance. It seems likely that the entirety of the “End of Life” and “Strid” (1994) releases will be played, along with choice cuts from the “Strid” 2007 compilation, although anything’s possible at this point. To assist anyone in deciding whether or not they want to check the band out, the wailing classic “Det Hviskes Blante Sorte Vindir” can be viewed at this location. Note how the cleaner parts juxtapose with the fuzzy distorted guitar chords in the background to create a truly saddening atmosphere. These “DSBM” bands may be much more common these days, but Strid are the real deal and should be checked out by any fan of the genre.
8) Divine Eve
The only Texan band to wind up on this list (although the forces of Blaspherian, Birth A.D., War Master, and P.L.F. will make for great appearances), Divine Eve’s appearance in Austin several moons ago was a spectacular show of old-school death/doom metal that would bring a tear to the eye of any fan of Autopsy or even Celtic Frost (read the review here). The band clearly worships at the altar of the riff, which is exactly what excellent extreme metal should do, and contains just about everything that good metal possesses. Check out the “As the Angels Weep” EP from 1994, and if that doesn’t somehow fulfill your craving for superb riffing, you’re probably reading the wrong column. While the international bands’ presence is catching its fair share of attention (as it should), let’s not forget about supporting the bands who are playing killer metal right here in our very own Lone Star State (which has also been the aim of this column since its inception). Make sure to come on out and support!
Do you like your metal visceral, savage, and wholly without compromise? If so, you’ll be in luck during Adorior’s performance at Rites of Darkness (and if not, why on Earth would you consider attending Rites of Darkness?) The extreme metal misanthropes represent one of the most violent bands of the festival and their chaotic approach to violent English metal is sure to win over anyone who hadn’t heard of them before. The shrieks and caterwauls of vocalist Melissa are pure expressions of vicious hatred for humanity while the instrumentalists (consisting of members of Grave Miasma and Destroyer 666, among others) drill away at buzzsaw riffs that do not know the meaning of the word “commercial”. Adorior is profane, vile, and everything an extreme metal fan would ask for. Miss them at your own loss!
And here we have it, the last band of this feature, Finland’s Behexen! Behexen play a very raw form of black metal that perfectly encapsulates sickening opposition of all that is good. For a best gateway into the ritualistic realm of Behexen, check out “Blessed Be The Darkness”. That riff at 2:47 is simply pure evil embodied, and manages to retain an air of catchiness without descending into saccharine drivel (as is the case when most extreme music fans hear the word “catchy” and immediately associate it with asinine pop music). The whole song is simply a masterpiece, and if they play it, expect to see a certain San Antonio metal writer lose his head (figuratively, of course). Regardless, Behexen is sure to have a killer set that could be one of the best of the entire festival, so make sure you don’t miss them!
Again, this is not meant to be a complete set, as literally every band on the bill is worth checking out. Get there early, watch the bands, and have a hell of a time! The venue has been moved to Backstage Live SA, for any wondering, and if you haven’t gotten your tickets, get on that immediately!
For more info: Check out Rites of Darkness here.