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Ritual - Think Like A Mountain CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.95 | 101 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Classifying this Swedish quartet as 'crossover prog' is like calling GENTLE GIANT 'prog related': rock music doesn't get much more proggy than Ritual. And the band's third studio album (in a ten-year span: these guys certainly aren't in the same overachieving league as their fellow Swede compatriots in THE FLOWER KINGS) is almost as good as their 1995 debut, showing the same strong melodic instincts and even more assertive musicianship.

In style the music ranges from lighthearted acoustic folk, often inspired by the children's fantasy literature of Tove Jansson (by way of GENTLE GIANT: see 'Moomin Took My Head'), to punchy electric Neo-Prog. This particular effort leans more toward the latter: thus the nervous Middle Eastern rhythms of the energetic album opener 'What Are You Waiting For', and the lush symphonic sweep of 'Humble Decision'. Adding real strings to 'Mother You've Been Gone Too Long' does nothing to compromise the song's evocative strength, and the 'Lark's Tongues in Aspic' power chords in the chorus of 'Infinite Justice' might have been borrowed from ANEKDOTEN, another thoroughbred in the crowded Swedish Prog Rock stable.

The album's only miscalculation is the plodding 'Explosive Paste', a song that unfortunately lives down to its clumsy title. At least the track is immediately followed by the more whimsical 'Once the Tree Would Bloom', in which the busy acoustic guitars, hand-held percussion, and ethnic woodwinds bring out the band's deep Scandinavian folk music roots, but without the expected northern latitude melancholy. And in the end the aptly titled 'Off' closes the album on a note of near ambient elegance, with a simple melody played on a single, muted synthesizer.

In summary: it's another outstanding effort from one of the hidden gems in the Prog Archives database, a band still waiting to be discovered by a lot of potential fans (judging from the relative scarcity of reviews so far: only 34 to date for their initial three albums, compared to 240 for the first three from the Flower Kings).

As the title of the album opener here says, What Are You Waiting For?

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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