Swedish black metal outfit Pagan Rites have been around in some form or another since the early 90's. Although armed with almost a dozen demos, singles and splits etc… full length releases have been somewhat sparse, as their latest black metal offering The Torments Of Hell is by all accounts just their third studio disc since 1992.
Aesthetically speaking these guys are definitely old school metal as spiked arm bands and bullet belts wrapped around black spandex pants seem to be their preferred attire. As for the music, well it borders on primitive, both with regards to the production and their relatively simplistic sounding riffs as well. That being said, their crude approach was somewhat refreshing and even though the buzz saw guitars, courtesy of Hora 666 who also covers slut strings (bass), doesn't offer the listener anything they haven't already heard before, they are effective, especially within the context of relatively straight ahead black metal anthems such as "The Horned Immortal", "Baphometal" and "Tragedy Of Christ". Ditto can be said for the gurgling vocals of one Devil Lee Rot who is credited here with simply providing 'goatthroat'. The band is rounded out by CJ Sodomizer who adeptly handles the 'drums of celestial horror and sexual devastation' ('nuff said). The recording sounds like it was done all in analogue, and although there are a few glitches with the mix from time to time, you get that distinctly warm feeling that only an analogue production can provide. In addition to the dry drum sound, the other surprise here is just how often the meaty bass lines are audible in the mix. This is something of a rarity and I wish more underground black metal bands would follow suit. Overall Pagan Rites do a pretty good job of changing up the tempos quite frequently which keeps things interesting. There's also a hint of doom metal (for further investigation see the final track, the twelve minute "Unholy Divine") that crops up from time to time which adds a bit more flavor to this recording.
Embrace The Torments Of Hell isn't particularity original, but for what it is, a good old fashioned, old school sounding black metal release in a style reminiscent of early Venom, it'll get the job done, but ultimately it falls somewhere in the middle.
1) Int(r) o The Gates Of Obscurity
2) Praise Hell Satan
3) The Horned Immortal
4) Die In Peace…Arise In Chaos
6) Dwelling…Down There
7) Tragedy Of Christ
8) The Seal Of Baphomet
9) Unholy Divine (Bonus Track)