Ancient Rites - _And the Hordes Stood As One_
(Hammerheart Records, 2003)
by: Quentin Kalis (8 out of 10)
Presumably this live album is intended as filler between studio albums; while premature, it is not an unwelcome addition to their discography, given the calibre of their back-catalogue. Despite the fact that there are sixteen tracks lasting over 78 minutes, there will be the inevitable complaints that a particular favourite isn't included -– I personally would have loved a live version of "Rise and Fall (Anno Satana)". Still, there could have been less of a bias towards their last studio effort, _Dim Carcosa_ (which is represented by no less than eight tracks) with the remainder more or less evenly split between the preceding three albums. Even _Fatherland_, widely and justifiably regarded as their finest moment, is represented by a mere three songs. I certainly don't expect every single album in a band's catalogue to be represented on a live album in equal portions, and a bias towards the latest is to be expected, but nor do I expect such an overwhelming bias towards a single album -– I want to hear a live Ancient Rites album, not a live version of _Dim Carcosa_.

Set list aside, this is an impressive live album, and while it is impossible to accurately recreate the mood and atmosphere of a live gig, this is as close as it can possibly get. As expected, the sound is rawer and more organic than on the studio albums and the earlier material has an enhanced melodic edge. Calls of "Me–tawl!" and the like do not seem at all cheesy, but are apt and enhance rather than detract from the atmosphere. There is a clear sense that the band are enjoying themselves, enhancing the quality. For those who absolutely loved _DC_, add an extra point to the rating above.

(article published 21/9/2003)

8/12/2001 K Buchanan 6 Ancient Rites - Dim Carcosa
8/12/1996 S Hoeltzel 6 Ancient Rites - Blasphemia Eternal
5/5/2003 J Montague Ancient Rites / Thyrfing / Blood Red Throne / Skyfire Generation Armageddon Tour
3/14/1999 P Schwarz Deicide / Rotting Christ / Aeternus / Ancient Rites / Behemoth Dead by Dawn
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