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RITUAL

Ritual

Crossover Prog


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The Owl
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Very refreshing take on symphonic prog with lots of folk elements thrown in. Killer ensemble playing by everybody and very well balanced, no on person tries to dominate. If Yes had came to their senses, this is what it might've been like.

Great stuff!

Report this review (#6342)
Posted Friday, November 28, 2003 | Review Permalink
5 stars Truly exhilirating songs...dynamic vocals from PL...exquisite arrangments. I bought the CD on the strength of hearing about 30 seconds of "Typhoons Decide", which is so full of uplifting energy, and discovered so many great songs along side it. I can't stop playing it, and I defy anyone not to get hooked. They blend pop, folk and rock effortlessly and with originality. TIM
Report this review (#6344)
Posted Thursday, June 24, 2004 | Review Permalink
diddy
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars I was surprised. I heard a lot about the swedish band "Ritual". Some people said that they play good progressive rock with folk elements. Others said that it is nothing but normal Hard Rock with some folk influences. Well, I think it's a blend of both. I really tried to get into their music. Listened to the album several times but something is still missing. Their style, sounding innovative and interesting in the beginning gets kind of boring after a few songs. Firt you think that it's a good idea to have a mandolin, a bouzouki or other folkish instruments but after some songs, it's nothing special and the sound repeats itself, nothing you really want to hear over and over again. Some songs really sound like normal Hard Rock, with the exception of the unsual instruments used. These instruments really enrich the sound, without this enrichment, I would have given even less stars. Maybe It's not the perfect band for my tastes and maybe my adjudgement is guilty of being too subjective but I'm really not willing to give more stars because Ritual's debut doesn't convince me. For sure these guys know how to play and you can find some nice melodies but the general sound repeats itself and the overall picture is kind of boring and far from being diversified.
Report this review (#6345)
Posted Sunday, July 25, 2004 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars 3.5 stars. There is a lot of variety on this Prog-related album, which means (for me anyway) that there will be hits and misses. In fact there are 4 tracks I really like a lot, while conversely there are 4 songs i'm not fond of at all. One thing this record exudes is enthusiasm and humour, and it is infectious. Quite a change from the ANEKDOTEN / SINKADUS moods I love so much.

The record starts off with "Wingspread" with it's catchy chorus, and it quickly becomes apparent that we have a very talented vocalist in Patrik Lundstrom (KAIPA) at the helm. This is really brought out in "The Way Of Things" where he shines ! The fast singing reminds me of ECHOLYN and GENTLE GIANT. The first two tracks are okay. "Life Has Just Begun" continues with the focus on the vocals, and we also get some nice flute and mandolin. Not a fan of this one. The songs "Typhoons Decide", "A Little More Like Me" and "Seasong..." were all inspired by either short stories, or a novel by Tove Jansson.

My favourite song is "Solitary Man". The stakes have been raised by this song. There's a beautiful instrumental break, as well as a nice organ solo. "Dependance Day" is another favourite, very Celtic sounding, a toe tapper. "You Can Never Tell" has sweet harmonies, almost QUEEN-like, and the rhythm section really shows their stuff. Not a fan though. Second favourite song is "Big Black Secret" although this may become number one, it's so good ! I was surprised at how heavy it is, the drums thunder and the piano is played so well.

A little bit for everyone on this one. They thank Dirk Jacob of TEMPUS FUGIT in the liner notes.

Report this review (#89616)
Posted Wednesday, September 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Ritual´s debut album is a really excellent album. First of all I would like to point out that Ritual have that special Swedish thing for melodies. Their music is just so beautifully melodic and memorable even though it is pretty intricate. I´ve heard about Ritual before but always assumed they were a metal band with that name and never gave them a chance. But then I bought Kaipa´s comeback album Notes From the Past and saw that Patrik Lundstrom who sings lead vocals on that album, were credited as a member of Ritual. It´s not that I´m a big fan of Kaipa really, but as the all consuming prog head I am I decided to give Ritual a chance. This has been a good decision as I think Ritual is much better than Kaipa.

The music is pretty hard to describe as there are elements of many different things on the album. But symphonic folk inspired prog rock wouldn´t be far from the truth. Some songs rock a bit more than others and some have a more folky touch, but there are always surprises and little instrumental parts to keep the songs exciting. Patrik Lundstrom has a very special voice and it is surely an aquired taste. Most of the time I like it, but it can be a bit too much when listening to the whole album from start to end.

The musicians are really fantastic in my ears. They master a variety of musical genres and mix them to great effect.

The production is excellent. Typical Swedish sounding and very clear and full.

This is such a good album and it deserves 4 stars, because of the high level in composition and musical skill. I think Ritual is a very original band and deserves praise for that.

Report this review (#162375)
Posted Friday, February 22, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#253879)
Posted Tuesday, December 1, 2009 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a splendid album. I (personally) wouldn't even class it as Folk. To me its too full and rich to be so. Having said that, maybe the roots of Folk lie in foot-tapping rythyms, and there are plenty of those of show here.

The impressively boisterous 'Wingspread' sets the tone. Lively and fresh. It seems not to matter where a song starts musically, because a fresh rythym will ultimately drive it through to the end. If there is a weakness, then the music isn't particularly reflective. Then again, because of that it's bright and happy.

Track 8,' Seasong...' is a dud, but after that we have a fine finale. 'You can never tell' is another lively foot-tapper, and it heads into what is (almost) a Prog classic, 'Big black secret'. Punching bass, catchy drumming, forward synths and a 'metal' type of riff make this an powerhouse of Symphonic Prog.

'Power Place' enables us to catch our breath, no foot-tapping rythyms here. No, we're off to 'Yes' land. Maybe there was 'reflection' after all.

This really is a fine sounding album, and a breath of fresh air. Any one who wants a new type of 'Gentle Giant' needs look no further. The creativity is there, though the sound is more mainstream. Very enjoyable.

Report this review (#259571)
Posted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover Team
4 stars This is a reissue of Ritual's 1995 debut album (which originally came out on Musea) and is certainly interesting, with some songs very different to other material within the current prog scene. Some of that is due to the line-up and instruments being used as while Patrik Lundstr'm (vocals, electric/ acoustic guitars) is fairly straightforward (although it must be mentioned that among his many sins are fronting the pop trio Blond at the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin in 1997), the rest of the band are Fredrik Lindqvist (bass, bouzouki, mandola, mandolin, hammered dulcimer, recorders tin whistles, vocals), Johan Nodrgen (drums, percussion, mallets, jew's harp, vocals) and Jon Gamble (keyboards, harmonica, vocals). This does mean that the listener isn't at all sure what the songs are going to be like, one to the next. Add a guest violinist among others and here is a band that really does want to be taken as being progressive, not 'regressive'.

Some of the songs are much closer to folk than anything else, while others just belt along and of course some do both. Patrik's vocals are very clear, and he is as much at home singing gently in 'The Way Of Things' or stretching out when the need is required. That song is a million miles away from 'Typhoons decide' which is far more complex and dynamic, with lots of movement between different styles

An album that progheads would do well to seek out. They are very different to the rest of the 'neo-prog' crowd and it is always good to hear a band that are trying to take prog into new directions.

originally appeared in Feedback #78, April 2004

Report this review (#1009726)
Posted Friday, August 2, 2013 | Review Permalink

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