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Unholy Ritual - "Finis Origine Pendet" (CD/EP)

Unholy Ritual - "Finis Origine Pendet" CD/EP cover image

"Finis Origine Pendet" track listing:

1. Chalice Of Aquarius (6:05)
2. Ignes Fatui (4:28)
3. Distinct Inception (5:51)
4. Death Before Dishonor (Nakajima Ki-43 Hayabusa) (6:58)

Reviewed by on October 23, 2010

"Simply put, [the EP] combines some of the best aspects of Belphegor, DragonLord, Dimmu Borgir, and Cradle of Filth into one tight collection of brutality blended with melody."

Unholy Ritual has been around since as far back as 1997, but it’s only in recent years the band has actually become active, releasing a first full-length in 2008. That huge incubation period seems to have done the trick, because the new “Finis Origine Pendet” EP is a masterful collection of symphonic black metal tracks that show the genre is still alive and kicking, and still has a few unheard ideas to offer.

The four tracks that make up the EP are all high-end symphonic black metal along the same lines as the biggest names in the style. Simply put, it combines some of the best aspects of Belphegor, DragonLord, Dimmu Borgir, and Cradle of Filth into one tight collection of brutality blended with melody. The vocals are similar to anything else in same musical arena, but have a nice brutal rasp behind them to keep the music sounding heavy and evil even during the melodic segments.

“Chalice of Aquarius” opens up with wobbling string instruments in an operatic and cinematic style that isn’t usually heard in this type of music. Maybe it’s just the shared Greek ancestry, as Unholy Ritual doesn’t have much death metal influence, but the use of symphonic elements does have a dark vibe along the lines of the titanic Septic Flesh.

Unholy Ritual may be black metal of the corpse paint variety, but that doesn’t mean it’s a one trick pony or it can’t be taken too seriously. While the style may have started with angst ridden teenagers, “Finis Origine Pendet” shows that the genre can grow up along with the fans. The tag “progressive” might be pushing it a bit, but the use of instrumentation throughout the EP is undeniably a step ahead of other symphonic bands in the same vein.

The exchanges between the guitars and drums frequently have surprising twists and turns that make it a pleasure to keep listening, and the worn out occult themes aren’t always bogging down the music. Based on the sounds going on in the background, it would seem that “Death Before Dishonour” is more about Kamikaze pilots than about silly mythological characters like Satan.

Considering how lack luster some of the recent releases from more famous bands have been, Unholy Ritual’s latest EP is honestly a better representation of symphonic black metal in 2010 than anything bigger bands have provided. Hopefully the group keeps on going and this is just a teaser for the full-length albums to come.

Highs: Symphonic style that is nothing short of cinematic, and matches the black metal nearly perfectly

Lows: Has some fun twists and turns, but isn't completley unique and overall follows the genre norms.

Bottom line: One of the best symphonic black metal releases of the year, it's just too bad its a short EP.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)