Monday, January 10, 2011

Briton Rites - For Mircalla

Briton Rites
For Mircalla
2010 Echoes of Crom Records

Anyone out there familiar with the band Cauldron Born? I sure wasn't, at least not until Stormspell Records reissued their debut album a while back. The
main guy in that band, Howie Bentley, did only a couple of Cauldron Born albums and then disappeared, leaving many of the underground heavy metal types wondering just where he went. Well, he's back with this new project, Briton Rites. He's playing something far more in the doom vein now, minus any stoner vibes that seem to show up on so many other doom album these days and completely fuck up the proceedings. Briton Rites also features love him or hate him Phil Swanson on vocals. Ever since the debut from Hour of 13, Phil has been popping up in all kinds of places, this being one of them. He gets a lot of flak for sounding like Ozzy, but I personally think that it's because he often sounds better than Ozzy ever did. With the vampire theme on "For Mircalla," he has just the right amount of melancholy for the heavier than thou riffs that Howie cranks out. Howie also taks a turn on vocals for "Karnstein Castle." His voice is at least somewhat similar to that of Phil, but I think that his style would be best suited for a band that plays slow doom all of the time. Speaking of which, the music is about as orthodox as doom can get. What might surprise you though, is that "orthodox" does not mean that it must be slow all of the time. Briton Rites have songs that change speeds many times, getting somewhat fast, then dropping back to slow or mid-pace. Nothing impossibly slow here either. Something also nice to hear is that the music of Briton Rites does not sound like the music of Cauldron Born. All too often, when the main songwriter in a band decides to either try something different or start a new project, one of two things happens.... Either it ends up as an unlistenable mess, or it sounds virtually the same as their main band. Not so here. Briton Rites is a different entity entirely from Cauldron Born, and not just another aspect of the same. Briton Rites is completely doom oriented, whice Cauldron Born is pure heavy metal. Two styles, two bands, both worth your time.

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