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Ritual: The Resurrection

The Resurrection is a new release by Ritual, a black metal band that made something of a splash in the mid-1990s with works like The Summoning (1995), Demonic Winter Metal (1997) and others. Although it's been a while since we've heard from them, Ritual sounds good on The Resurrection and this new recording should please fans. In the 90s, Ritual's lineup consisted of Ian Fleming (guitar / vocals / battery), Robert Nusslein (bass), and Mike Pardi (guitar / vocals). Although Ritual has been gone for a while, Fleming is himself quite busy. He is currently involved with two groups right now: a new lineup of Ritual and another band called Ian Fleming and the Secret Agents, which is a more traditional hard rock band. Given that Fleming shares his name with the creator of James Bond, the secret agent theme fits well. Ritual's new lineup is mostly Fleming (guitar / voice), but also adds the work of Matthew Roxx (guitar), Zereth (bass) and Stixx (drums). I'd like to know more about the rhythm section here, especially since I've heard that Fleming plays a little bit of everything and could have laid down most of these tracks himself.

I am new to Ritual's music and found myself a little taken aback by Fleming's voice at first. After listening to the album a few times, though, I found myself drawn to his interesting blend of high-pitched rasp and melody. Fleming sings clearly enough that the lyrics are fairly intelligible. I was even more impressed with the dual guitar playing of both Fleming himself and Matthew Roxx. The Resurrection has several terrific riffs, especially at the beginning of each song. Listen, for example, to "A Perfect Moonlit Night" for a good opening hook that leads into a terrific groove. Similar opening patterns may be found in "Temples of Baphomet's Sons" and "Nightmare." The guitars add a necessary dimension to this album, particularly given the often workmanlike playing of the bass and drums.

My main critique of this recording is that the songs tend to repeat themselves too much. I found this to be true throughout The Resurrection. One of my favorite songs, "Drowning into the Sea," repeated its main verse again and again. Although the lyrics are quite interesting, I found the repetition to be too much. Part of me even wanted to connect this song's words to the broader fascination with the Antarctic that horror writers like Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft developed. However, the track didn't develop itself musically very much, leading to repeat itself too often I realize that there is something minimalist about black metal at times, but I think that Ritual could vary things much more and still effectively capture the gloom and doom that is their hallmark. Another example of this is "March of the Damned," an instrumental track that doesn't necessarily go anywhere. Maybe that's the point; where do the damned go, anyway? As an album closer, though, I thought listeners should have been left with something a little more variegated.

I enjoyed The Resurrection. I don't think it's a grand comeback for Ritual, but it works well enough to warrant a listen.

Track Listing:
1. A Funeral for My Heart
2. The Resurrection
3. A Perfect Moonlit Night
4. Executioner of the Elder Gods
5. This Means War
6. Drowning into the Sea
7. Nightmare
8. Temples of Baphomet's Sons
9. Winter of My Discontent
10. Blinded By Hatred
11. March of the Damned

Added: December 28th 2011
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 1742
Language: english

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