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And The Hordes Stood As One - Live
(Hammerheart Records)

Apart from their very early material I was never quite a big fan of Belgium's ANCIENT RITES and therefore didn't really follow their career over the last couple of years anymore. Of course I noticed that they constantly continued to release records, but wasn't too eager to check them out, to be perfectly honest here. On the other hand it seems that there's a bunch of kids around with an even more extreme attitude, cause the track 'Total Misanthropia' gets introduced by mainman Gunther Theys with the words: "Many people hate us... we don't care!!" Well, I gotta admit that I personally at least have a lot of respect for what they achieved over the years and for being around so long by now. And this live record furthermore certainly is a very good proof of their obvious live qualities - ANCIENT RITES have matured into a very unique act, that has excellent musicians in their ranks (just listen to the incredible guitar work!). Musically they don't really fit into any category anymore (which they actually never really did, not even in their 'Black Metal' days) - they just deliver great music with an overall middle age feel to it. Of course it's still Metal, but very unique and not comparable to anything else I've heard lately. The location for the recordings of this impressively packaged first official live album couldn't have been choosen any better, cause the crowd at the Biebob club in Vosselaar, Belgium totally worships ANCIENT RITES and creates an exciting atmosphere throughout the entire 16 songs set. Maybe the fact that I personally never saw them live had something to do with my lack of enthusiasm concerning their material. On record it often bored me, but these live versions partly even managed to send shivers down my spine! Really impressive! Can't tell you whether or not all their classics are included in the setlist, but judging it just by the crowd response I suppose most of them must be. So, of course any ANCIENT RITES supporter will certainly buy this right away, but I suggest the rest of you to give this disc a listen as well. In my case it helped changing my view on the band around... Good one!

Frank Stöver

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