Ritual - Ritual

Year of Release: 2004
Label: InsideOut
Catalog Number: SPV 085-60522
Format: CD
Total Time: 60:55:00

OK, ok, you don't have to rub it in ? I know Sweden is the prog country! So many great bands have emerged from that country and now Ritual joined their ranks. I first heard the voice of Patrick Lundström on the Kaipa album Notes From The Past, which I enjoyed very much. In 1995 the band released their self titled debut album. In 1999 they released the follow up, Superb Birth, and last year their third album saw the light of day: Think Like A Mountain. Now Inside Out re-released their debut album, for people like me ? who missed the first release ? or who missed the band at all?

You cannot describe the music of Ritual in one or two sentences, as each song is different from the other and these four Swedes like to play, or experiment, if you like, with all kinds of melodies, sometimes even a bit weird melodies, but still very good. It is the variety in songs combined with the characteristic vocals of Lundström, that make this album very interesting. I have heard several influences, like Kansas, Rush and Gentle Giant, but definitely with their own sound dominating. They also like to add some folk to their music, as "The Way Of Things," has an almost medieval melody, which after almost 3 minutes, culminates into stunning prog. Ritual's debut is filled with solid songs, that have it in them to become classics. I enjoy the typical voice of Lundström very much and the bass sound of Fredrik Lindqvist, gives the sound a lot of warmth and body.

Lindqvist plays more than just bass, as he also plays instruments like Bouzouki, Mandolin, hammered dulcimer and tin-whistles. Drummer Johan Nordgren als plays things like mallets and jews-harp, and I think these instruments also add to the fresh sound of this album. Although it would be a few years later, Lundström would join Kaipa, "A Little More Like Me" sounds a lot like the music Kaipa showed on their Notes From The Past! Again on this song there are the folk influences. Fortunately it is not all mellow prog, a song like "Solitary Man" shows they can easily play heavier music, but I'm glad they leave it to this one song and stay to their typical mellow prog sound, with here and there some nice folk touches. That is what makes this album stand out above many others. To demonstrate how good Ritual is: the last track of the album, "Power Place," was recorded live in the studio, and it is a fantastic track, with great synths by Jon Gamble. Excellent song to end a close to brilliant album.

I haven't heard the first release of this album, so I can't compare the two. But I do know this version sounds very, very good, with solid compositions, great vocals, well done production and a 24 page booklet ? I bet this last thing convinced you, right? This is going to be a classic and we can be very happy InsideOut Music took it upon them to re-release it, for maybe a whole new generation. Highly recommended!!

Similar bands: Kaipa, The Flower Kings

First released by Tempus Fugit (1995, TF VO 13)

[This review originally appeared February 2004 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Wingspread / The Way Of Things / Typhoons Decide / A Little More Like Me Solitary Man / Life Has Just Begun / Dependence Day / Seasong For The Moominpappa / You Can Never Tell / Big Black Secret / Power Place

Patrick Lundström - vocals, electric and acoustic guitars
Jon Gamble - keyboards, harmonica, vocals
Fredrik Lindqvist - bass, mandola, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, recorders, vocals
Johan Nordgren - drums, percussion, mallets, jews-harp, vocals

Ritual (1995/2004)
Ritual (1996) (Japanese version)
Did I Go Wrong (ep) (1999)
Superb Birth (1999/2000)
Think Like A Mountain (2003)
Ritual Live (2006)
The Hemulic Voluntary Band (2007)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin SE

Added: May 29th 2005
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website: www.ritual.se
Hits: 554
Language: english


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