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Ritual - Live CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.97 | 15 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Prog Reviewer
4 stars Prog fans lucky enough to attend the 6th annual Rites of Spring Festival outside of Philadelphia in May of 2008 enjoyed the privilege of seeing the US performance debut of Sweden's best-kept secret, and one of the rising stars in the European Neo-Prog community. Take it from someone who was there (and who had never heard of them beforehand): Ritual put on one heck of a show, arguably the best of a busy weekend.

But here at least is a taste of what you might have missed, albeit recorded two years earlier, while the band was on tour in Scandinavia: a double-disc capturing the energetic essence of a great live act. More than that, it also works as an effective sampler of the group's first three studio albums, functioning not unlike a live 'best of' summary of their career thus far.

It's all here: the heavy Neo-Prog chords, the exuberant acoustic folk tunes, lots of catchy melodies, and more than one gut-thumping rhythm. And of course no Ritual album or concert would be complete without a moomintroll or two, imaginary creatures out of the celebrated children's stories by Tove Jansson, as always a major source of inspiration for the band.

The other obvious influence would be the music of GENTLE GIANT, by way of JETHRO TULL (circa 'Songs From the Wood'), especially evident during the nine-plus minute acoustic medley, typically a concert highlight (as it was at ROSFest 2008). My favorite moment from the CD version: when frontman Patrick Lundström invites the audience to "sing it!" during one of the band's knottier, more acrobatic vocal harmonies.

You won't hear any 20+ minute epics a la THE FLOWER KINGS (fellow Swedes and kindred musical spirits, but I'll take the playful moomins over Roine Stolt's religious mysticism any day): Ritual's magnum opus 'A Dangerous Journey', from the band's 2008 album 'The Hemulic Voluntary Band', was still two years away at this point. But these guys can pack more animation and muscle into a six-minute, radio-friendly Prog Pop song than most groups can fit into an entire concept album. And make it sound even more dynamic when played on stage for an enthusiastic crowd.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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