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RITUAL

Ritual

 

Crossover Prog

3.86 | 77 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Neu!mann
Prog Reviewer
4 stars On a web site supposedly devoted to Progressive music these Swedish Neo-Proggers should be much better known. The quartet is one of the better acts from a country with a long history of Prog Rock excellence, and their self-titled 1995 album is likewise one of the strongest debut efforts of any band in recent memory.

The first notes of the album opener 'Wingspread' might recall the adrenalin-fueled introduction to 'Heart of the Sunrise' by YES (check out the mp3 sample on their page here at Prog Archives). But elsewhere the band's primary source of inspiration is clearly mid '70s GENTLE GIANT. You can hear it in the lively blend of acoustic and electric elements, often with a strong undercurrent of traditional Swedish folk music married to a heavy, contemporary Neo- Prog sound, all of it given plenty of punch in the crisp, dynamic production.

But unlike the music of too many over-earnest modern proggers, Ritual's debut is an album of rare high spirits, and the group plays with enough energy to support their enthusiasm. That vitality is immediately apparent in the breathless pace of 'Wingspread' (especially during the exuberant chorus), continues into the mock-medieval folk tune 'The Way of Things', and reaches critical mass in the gleeful shanty 'Seasong for the Moominpappa', the first of many songs in their catalogue inspired by the moomintrolls of children's author Tove Jansson.

Perhaps the band's low profile is only a matter of limited exposure. Unlike the absurdly prolific Swedish superstars of THE FLOWER KINGS, their recorded output is meager, to say the least: only four studio albums in the last fifteen years (although as I write a new release in finally pending). And so far their only gig on this side of the Atlantic was a one-night stand (actually a one-afternoon stand) at the 6th annual Rites of Spring music festival in May of 2008, making quite a splash and winning a lot of new fans, this reviewer among them.

Clearly this is one bandwagon with plenty of room for more passengers. Hop on at the first stop, and enjoy the ride.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |

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