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A Review of the Album "The Highest Law" by Japanese Thrash Metal Band Ritual Carnage

Updated on July 24, 2020
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

How is This Album Different From The Birth of Tragedy?

"The Highest Law" is the 1998 debut album by Japanese thrash metal band Ritual Carnage. Stylistically however, this album is different from The Birth of Tragedy in the sense that the guitar sound and vocals especially sound like death metal. An example of how this album sounds is this: can anyone remember Florida based death metal band called Death? That’s how the vocals sound so think of this album like an early Chuck Schuldiner vocal style album fused with thrash metal.

The Album Cover for The Highest Law


One Reason Why Ritual Carnage is So Good as a Band

The first song in this album called Servant of the Black lyrically is an anti-Christian song but it sets the tone for what we will hear later on in the album. Florida may have dominated the heavy metal scene in the 1980’s and about half of the 1990’s but starting in the 2000’s Japan started to make a resurgence and they know how to write thrash metal that works!

How Are the Vocals of Ritual Carnage Better Than That of the Band Sacrifice?

The second song is an example of good, groovy thrash. It is a song that is questioning how Jesus actually died but this band isn’t Satanic in the literal sense. I just think they are questioning the structure of organized religion. Unlike bands such as Sacrifice, Ritual Carnage’s vocals are better and more understandable. I mentioned in my review of the album The Birth of Tragedy that I had turned the corner and felt lucky enough to find out about this band Ritual Carnage. Let’s allow this luck to continue as I bring to you another album review of Japan’s Ritual Carnage! Even if you don’t like the band’s name the music on this album is pretty darn good!

What is the One Drawback to The Highest Law?

The only drawback to this album is the lyrical content which seems to focus on topics that some people may find too much to bear.

How is the Rest of the Album The Highest Law?

Master is a song that brings up the subject of the power of Satan and it sounds somewhat like early Mercyful Fate. Domain of Death is a song about a serpent that is brought to the world to inflict suffering. It was a serpent that tempted Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of the tree of good and evil. Even though the album is sometimes one-dimensional and the lyrics portray the qualities of a chaotic and messy world, Ritual Carnage began their career showing fans that they could play music and compete with bands from the United States and Europe.

Metal Forces is a song making reference to some of the most famous bands in the history of heavy metal that have made a name for themselves. What a way to end a good groovy thrash metal album as the band pays tribute to bands such as Sodom, Kreator, and Mercyful Fate. Attack is another very fast song that is about the floodgates being opened up as the security of the Earth is at risk. Overall, "The Highest Law" is a very good start for Japan’s Ritual Carnage but it is not as good as The Birth of Tragedy.

Final score: 80 out of 100 points for a solid B grade.

© 2018 Ara Vahanian


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