Dennis : metal releases of all time. The band was founded in 1988 by former Nocturnus guitarist Vincent Crowley (who became a Priest and later a Magister in the Church of Satan) and at the time of this release consisted further of drummer James Strauss (now in Sathanas) and guitarist Pete Slate (later Equinox and now in Druid Lord). ‘Rites of the Black Mass’ contains ten satanic hymns to celebrate the rites of the Black Mass, and each of the songs is introduced by a dark and satanic keyboard intro with spoken satanic texts by Peter H.Gilmore (who is now High Priest in the Church of Satan). The songs are not the most technical yet they are very effective death metal tracks that stick around in your head easily and all have their very own distinctive character. It is these catchy tunes that make the album as strong as it is and even in nowadays songs like ‘Thou Art Lord’, ‘Ave Satanas’, ‘One With Darkness’ or ‘Prayer of Hell’ haven’t lost momentum. ‘Rites of the Black Mass’ was recorded in the Morrissound Studio with producer Scott Burns and despite the legendary producer, the album received a rather raw and underground production.
The Dutch record label Vic Records reissues ‘Rites of the Black Mass’ on February 23. The album has been remastered by Phlebotomized guitarist Tom Palms and contains liner-notes by Wannes Gubbels (Pentacle) and an interview with frontman Vincent Crowley. Besides the ten tracks that were on the original album, the 2-track ‘Promo 1990’ with the songs ‘To Thee We Confess’ and ‘Ave Satanas’ are added to the re-issue. This release is great for those that haven’t got the original yet, but I guess most seasoned death metal freaks will already have the original in their collection.