Written by: Blackie Skulless
In 2021, Blazon Rite were able to capture my attention with their debut record’s bright personality. This year, they offered up another disc full of fantastical tales and glorious battles. Titled Wild Rites And Ancient Songs, the fitting feeling casts the same energy as before in a slightly more compact manner, but with a few minor nuances to note it as a worthwhile step forward. Naturally, things feel a bit cleaner, but the epic Philly traditional metallers offered up a little more than just that.
For one, there’s a clear injection of inspiration that aligns more with Iron Maiden tropes than full-on Savatage worship in the modern light. Galloping riffs with a slight step up in speed make up a higher percentage of this disc, without feeling like it steps into harsh territory. I’d also say that the songwriting itself is clearly defined in a very focused manner here; not that it was boring before, but Blazon Rite seems to have a personality built with higher purpose this time around. The solos are tight, and in general, the already compelling ideas from before have a sharper edge.
There’s also no shortage of channeling the riffs into epic emotions on Wild Rites And Ancient Songs, likely aiding in this pursuit. “The Fall Of A Once Great House” is an instant banger, riding on cleaner licks and soft vocals that break into rhythms with loads of weight and crushing drive. They’ve still got a strong ear for properly introducing acoustic passages into otherwise heavy songs, on full display with the title track. Hell, this may even be one of the fastest ones, topped only by “Troubadours Of The Final Quarrel.” That one is truly a magnificent dose of speed metal topped by incredible leads.
Like before, I still think the vocals are a bit of an acquired taste, but what matters is that they match the music. Certainly I would say this is a step up from the already strong foundation laid before. Epic, beefy, and speed are all names of the game with a touch of emotion to match the narrative. Fans of traditional metal should certainly seek it out.
Blazon Rite - Wild Rites And Ancient Songs was released April 23rd, 2023 via Gates of Hell
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.