Release DetailsLABEL Oaken Shield
RELEASED ON 6/24/2003
Rites of Supremacy
posted on 11/2003 By:
Beserk is band I’ve meaning to check out for a while, intrigued by a Spanish (I'm half Spanish) band with Viking/pagan leanings. I missed “Tales From the Celtiberian Woods”, so jumped on the opportunity to review their newest album, “Rites of Supremacy”. While not completely enthralled and mildly disappointed (considering I prefer my pagan/Viking metal pompous and over the top), Beserk are still a worthwhile addition to any axe wielding warriors collection. For Beserk, the approach is rooted in simple black metal dynamics with injections of pagan elements in the form of understated synths and ethnic quirks (clean vocals, acoustics etc). It’s never overdone or laid on too thick, like say Moonsorrow or Thyrfing. It’s still essentially stark but sometimes epic black metal. Beserk's approach to pagan/Viking metal is similar to Obtest or Allegiance-minimalist but effectively present. Relying on lengthier songs, many of the riffs are repeated to death, but Beserk have deft awareness and timing, knowing just when to end the riff/song and throw in a flute instrumental or Viking choir break. Its subtle in its complexity, as if often comes across as dry and simple but I feel that Beserk is totally aware of how they project their musical heathenry, so the songs never seem to drag and go by with surprising brevity despite their 7-8 minute length. The first three long tracks; “Rites of Supremacy”, “Astapo’s Ashes”, and “Beserkers Blood”, cover similar territory, with well written vehement lyrics of national pride and medieval carnage, but do little to identify themselves from one another, other than some quick clean vocals during “Astapos’s Ashes”. The first true escapist delivery of their pagan visage comes in the form of the flute and acoustic instrumental “De Este a Oeste”, which shows their Iberian ethnicity mixed with the Dark Ages style of their musical approach. “Blood of the Gods”, the albums most obvious “Viking” style riffing with its slightly more forced gait and subtle synth work, before exploding into harsher, blacker realms. The albums slightly repetitive nature becomes obvious for album closer “Journey to Eternity”, as a familiar mid paced march kicks things off, and frankly by this point I’m ready to call it quits, not cos its all that bad, but the music just wasn’t as rousing as I had hoped. Which can’t be said for the lyrics, these Spaniards have plenty of national conviction and pride, as well as respect for times long gone, before the spread on the Christian virus, but you don’t get that from the music alone. The stark production may put off those (like me), that like their pagan music a little more overbearing, but its raw in a kind of clean sense, there's very little bass and the guitar tone is pretty thin, but it doesn’t sound under produced-it sounds suitably “Gaul”. While not an album I’ll be coming back to very often, there’s no doubt Beserk are Spain’s finest musical export, that will only get better, and their conviction alone deserves your ear.
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