Samael's second album, 1992's Blood Ritual, showed the extreme metal community that there was much more versatility and ambition to the group's songwriting than initially revealed by the first album's rudimentary black metal. Sparked by the bandmembers' improving musicianship and a diminishing need to prove themselves through wanton teenage savagery, album highlights such as "Beyond the Nothingness," "With the Gleam of Torches," and "Bestial Devotion" sacrificed aggression and, even more notably, speed, for much more interesting arrangements, while obviously maintaining their allegiance with the great horned one. In fact, only the title track achieved wholesale thrashing velocity, and additional standouts like "After the Sepulture," "Total Consecration," and "Macabre Operetta" opened the gates to acoustic guitars, piano, and creepy synths that would eventually infiltrate Samael's sound and, arguably, fuel their greatest individualistic musical triumphs. In sum, Blood Ritual was a sophomore statement of almost astonishing creative evolution for the Swiss group, which was now well and truly on its way.
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AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2