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Ritual The Hemulic Voluntary Band album cover
4.11 | 279 ratings | 16 reviews | 36% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2007

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. The Hemulic Voluntary Band (4:53)
2. In the Wild (5:55)
3. Late in November (4:59)
4. The Groke (6:06)
5. Waiting by the Bridge (4:36)
6. A Dangerous Journey (26:35) :
- Cat & Glasses
- The Swamp
- A Curious Crowd
- Volcano
- Snowstorm
- Onion Soup
- Monster!
- Balloon
- A Party Outdoors

Total Time 53:04

Line-up / Musicians

- Patrik Lundström / lead & backing vocals, electric & acoustic guitars
- Jon Gamble / grand piano, Rhodes, clavinet, harmonium, backing vocals
- Fredrik Lindqvist / bass, Irish bouzouki, dulcimer, whistles, recorders, backing vocals
- Johan Nordgren / drums & percussion, nyckelharpa, backing vocals

- Lovisa Hallstedt / violin (6)

Releases information

Artwork: Javier Herbozo

CD Tempus Fugit ‎- TF VÖ 23 (2007, Europe)

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and to projeKct for the last updates
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RITUAL The Hemulic Voluntary Band ratings distribution

(279 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(36%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(41%)
Good, but non-essential (18%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

RITUAL The Hemulic Voluntary Band reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars In the mid-Nineties this Swedish band was very popular in Holland and I have seen Ritual a few times, they turned into a kind of 'cult- band' in those days because of their fresh blend of Classic Prog and folk and their enthousiastic approach on stage. And I remember that one of my friends had taken his 12 years old son to a Ritual concert, he was delighted with a signed t-shirt by the band and at that moment he was the youngest Ritual fan in Holland!

So I was very curious to this new effort, I haven't heard a Ritual album for many years. But during my first listening session it was like "meeting an old friend', very warm and familiar. To me Ritual still sounds as a blend of Classic Prog (Gentle Giant and Yes) and folk in which singer Patrik Lundström plays an important role with his distinctive voice. A captivating element on this CD is the swinging sound of the clavinet (Kerry Minnear from Gentle Giant is one of the few keyboard players who used it frequently), often in strong interplay with the guitar.

I am pleasantly surprised by this new Ritual album, let's say they are still 'alive and Eclectic Progging'! My rating: 3,5 stars.

Review by Prog-jester
4 stars Amazing!!!

I remember a year or so ago I got two RITUAL albums issued by a Russian license (“Ritual” 1995 and “Think like a Mountain” 2003). Their music seemed very strange yet almost mainstreamy – this unique effect was reached due to high-class musicianship, tasty varied arrangements and complex vocal polyphony all drawn together with catchy melodic lines, short tracks and very ethnic feeling attached to it all. I failed to LOVE these guys’ stuff, but when I came across their new work, I decided to give few spins to “The Hemulic Voluntary Band”.

And what an album it is! All RITUAL aces are here (like YES-like vocal harmonies, LED ZEPPELIN-like rocky mood, JETHRO TULL-like folksy nature and GENTLE GIANT-like top-notch approach to arrangements and complexity), and they are still very accessible, hard to call them THAT MUCH Prog sometimes. From eponymous opener to 26-min long highlight of the album each song shines with its own beauty! My favoritest ones are “The Groke”, dark in a typically Scandinavian way, and “A Dangerous Journey”, which is unbelievably strong from melodic point – I mean, you won’t tell it lasts for 26 minutes, it’s so catchy and memorable! Seriously it’s gonna be my Epic of the Year!!!

I simply don’t know whom to recommend this one; it’s so ECLECTIC that it may become EVERYONE’s favourite!!! Check it and have almost an hour of finest Eclectic Scandinavian Prog!!! I should return to check the other two as well that I have (on this positive wave of impression), I guess. Long live Scandinavian Prog!

Review by Menswear
5 stars Simply impossible to ignore.

What an album from Ritual, what an effort to deliver top quality music, lyrics AND artwork!! From the first notes, I thought:'Yummy, this is refreshing'. In fact, this album is a huge gingerbread cookie in a Gentle Giant shape!

Any fan of Gentle Giant will drool on this album from start to finish because as frosting, the whole package is based on some sort of fantasy voyage of the Moomins, invented by Tove Jansson. Beautifully drawed, the front page is just the beginning; I thought I was in some teenage fantasy litterature (like the Hobbit was).

The songs are fresh and absent of all the prog-metal clichés; only folk-rock a la Tull and complex structures and breaks a la Gentle Giant. Honestly, with Wobbler's Hinterland and Phideaux's Doomsday Afternoon, THIS is the top of the line for the old school progressive lovers. You cannot simply go wrong with this album, buy it eyes closed.

Ritual has officialy stepped into the court of the big guns and have my vote for album of the year, period.

As Robin would quote:'Holy logjams Batman, we've found it!'

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars One of Sweden's more criminally overlooked Prog Rock bands has released only a handful of studio albums over the last decade. But this year 2007 recording, their latest to date, is also their best effort so far.

The album's muscular but melodic style follows in the eclectic footprints of GENTLE GIANT at their mid-'70s peak, employing everything from conventional rock instrumentation to the more ethnic, folk-based sounds of bouzoukis, mandolins, dulcimers et al. And the syncopated clavinet used in the title track at the top of the album is clearly meant to provide an affectionate facsimile of the classic Gentle Giant sound, minus the distinctive croon of Derek Shulman (the sometimes strident voice of Ritual frontman Patrick Lundstrüm can be an acquired taste).

Several more short songs ably display the band's musical range, from the traditional Neo- Prog punch of "In The Wild" to the acoustic melancholy of "Late In November" and the toe- tapping Scandinavian funk of "Waiting By the Bridge". But the album highlight is unquestionably the ambitious 26-minute saga "A Dangerous Journey", the band's first attempt at a large scale, multi-chapter composition, and destined to be remembered as a career masterpiece.

If it were possible in these pages to award ratings to individual tracks, this one would easily be a five-star classic. Imagine GENESIS in 1972 having written a musical adaptation of Lewis Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland" instead of "Supper's Ready" (as always, the yardstick for any Prog Rock epic), and you'll have a rough idea of what to expect. Like the album title itself, the song is drawn from the literature of Finnish author Tove Jansson, in this case a 1977 picture book for children, beautifully reproduced (or at least paraphrased in the band's lyrics) in the CD booklet, with illustrations.

A truncated video clip of a live performance of the song can also be found on the band's Prog Archive page, filmed at their (so far) only Stateside gig, at the May 2008 ROSFest in suburban Philadelphia. The video quality stinks, but the sound is very good, and the song's haunting acoustic guitar and nyckelharpa introduction provides a nice contrast to their rockier mp3 music streams also available here.

It was, to this fan in attendance, the highlight of the entire three-day festival, and augurs well for the band's future. If they can build on the ambition of "A Dangerous Journey" in upcoming releases (a new studio album is in the works, as I write), Ritual may well become a major name in modern Prog Rock. And better late than never.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars. In my opinion this is their best studio album so far. Most of the songs are based on fantasy books about these creatures called "Moomin" by a Finnish author.To my ears we get less of that World Music flavour from the band than we did on past albums. Many mention GENTLE GIANT and YES as influences that can be heard here. I did think of YES at one point.

"The Hemulic Voluntary Band" has such a great intro but the euphoria ends when the vocals come in. Everytime the vocals stop on this track i'm so impressed with the instrumental work. A YES vibe after 3 minutes pops up. "In The WIld" also starts amazingly well then it settles as the vocals arrive. Great sound after 4 minutes as the guitar lights it up. "Late In November" is melancholic with reserved vocals.We get some bouzouki here along with flute and acoustic guitar. We get some brief vocals and backing vocals only after 3 1/2 minutes. "The Groke" has this fairly heavy and repetitive beat as vocals join in. "Waiting By The Bridge" has almost a reggae vibe to it with vocals. "A Dangerous Journey" is the 26 1/2 minute closer. It's very acoustic sounding early on as the vocals join in. A change before 4 minutes as it turns dark until around 7 1/2 minutes when the sounds lightens again. A change before 9 minutes with almost spoken vocals. It kicks back in before 11 minutes.The guitar is crying out before 15 minutes. Vocals return 18 minutes in then we get another change before 19 1/2 minutes. Guitar and a heavier sound before 21 1/2 minutes then the tempo picks up with vocals. It settles down to end it.

If you've liked any of their earlier albums don't even hesitate to get this one.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Heavy Prog & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars I would like this album even more were the story/lyrics not about the life of a bunch of rodents. (Literally!) I like the GENTLE GIANT, YES and JETHRO TULL influences and "In the Wild" and "Late November" are definite prog classics. Sometimes sounds a bit like THE DECEMBERISTS--especially the 27-minute epic, "A Dangerous Journey." Wish there were more efforts to layer vocal harmonies as in the 18th minute of "A Dangerous Journey."

***** 5 stars: "In the Wild," "Late in November" **** 4 stars: "The Groke," "Waiting By The Bridge," "The Hemulic Voluntary Band," and (could be 5 stars were the lyrics more relevant and the musical shifts more varied stylistically and in tempo:) "A Dangerous Journey."

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Rarely does an album craft so magical a musical experience as Ritual's The Hemulic Voluntary Band. Various themes and melodies start to become unforgettable from the first listen. This enchanting voyage conjures up a number of moods, ranging from the nostalgia of "Late in November" to the eager anticipation of "Waiting by the Bridge," from the menacing fear that is "The Groke" to the fanatical delight of "The Hemulic Voluntary Band" and "Into the Wild." A microcosm of the album, the centerpiece is the 26-minute suite "A Dangerous Journey." Most of the lyrics are inspired by Tove Jansson's Moomin series, which involves fantastical creatures with various personalities and adventures. I have fallen in love with this heterogeneous musical treasure.

"The Hemulic Voluntary Band" Quirky and inviting, the opener fuses catchy melodies with complex instrumentation. The convoluted guitars and the thumping of the bass should immediately please the Gentle Giant fans among us. The quiet, bass-led passage is just what the doctor ordered amid the joyful clamor.

"In the Wild" Adventurous and melodically portentous, the second tune continues to engage the listener with complex yet satisfying instrumentation and vocals. Reinterpreting the music with piano only midway through provides a glorious respite that is at once calming and deceptive- a guitar shrieks and tosses the listener right back into the sonic tempest.

"Late In November" Harmonium and harmonica whine mournfully over acoustic guitar, leading into a peacefully sweet vocal melody wrapped around redolent lyrics that make use of alliteration and provide the listener with a glimpse into the mind of the nomadic Snufkin, who leaves his best friend Moomintroll every fall for warmer weather. The gorgeous harmonies are a warm breeze on a chilly autumn afternoon.

"The Groke" This brooding, overawing song has a wonderfully lumbering main theme and a heavy bass riff during the lofty refrain. The Groke is a large, ghostly creature that radiates a deathly chill, and although she seeks warmth and friendship, winds up extinguishing both, and is thus kept in perpetual cold and loneliness.

"Waiting by the Bridge" If ever there was a song to bring cheer and lift the spirits, it's this one: Ritual provides a happy-go-lucky tune with enthusiastic lyrics about meeting his old friend again- Moomintroll eagerly awaits the return of Snufkin, who is to return in the spring, and describes the fun they will have together. The bass stands out here, providing a hearty groove under the merry and jaunty singing.

"A Dangerous Journey" Weaving multiple passages and themes into a unified epic is in itself a dangerous journey, but like the discontented Susanna, Ritual finds success. Susanna had a strange adventure involving Hemulen, Thingumy and Bob, a volcano, Sniff, Snufkin, Wimsey, onion soup, a party in the valley with the Moomins, and one growing cat, and Ritual uses the breadth of their musical arsenal to depict each part of the expedition. Beginning with a beautiful acoustic theme led by harmonium, the piece eventually explores wistful folk, dazzling symphonic rock, easygoing jazz, and whatever comes in between. The result is a charming and fascinating suite flaunting simultaneously the eclecticism and consistency of Ritual and concluding a wonderful masterpiece of progressive rock music.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Don't be spooked by the monsters on the cover art - see, they're wearing pretty dresses, they're trying to be welcoming and unthreatening. In fact, they're probably supposed to be Hemulens, creatures from the Moomin books by Tove Jonsson (though the band probably couldn't get a licence to put Jansson's charming artwork on the cover), since the album lyrics are largely inspired by that series. Stylistically, what you get here is very much styled after the classic prog artists of the past, with Jethro Tull-esque folk influences and medieval allusions reminiscent of Gentle Giant or Gryphon.

There's also a strong Genesis influence not so much in terms of the actual music itself (though there's the odd flash of that), but in terms of the overall pastoral mood and, especially, the strong emphasis on theatrical storytelling that early Genesis always excelled at so well. Overall, a great little piece for those who like a fat dose of whimsical fantasy and a good story nestled in their progressive rock albums.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I did not expect such a good job, original and transcendent of this modest band. Power, finesse, richness instrumental. The album introduces with two pieces consistent and energetic, with gentle piano sections In The Wild, very successful. The next topic, Late in November, is an acoustic gem ... (read more)

Report this review (#946097) | Posted by sinslice | Thursday, April 18, 2013 | Review Permanlink

2 stars This is not the Ritual of the past. The present incarnation seems to produce music not disimilar to Gentle Giant.This makes it more technical than aesthetic, so it doesn't keep me warm. Anyway, I reckon that this album is pretty much only about the first two tracks, because after that the f ... (read more)

Report this review (#450135) | Posted by sussexbowler | Friday, May 20, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 5 stars This album is MAGICAL. After giving it a few run throughs I've concluded that it's one of the most enjoyable and fun albums in my collection. An underlying theme of rustic, folkish wilderness adds the occasional tinge of mystery and encourages the listener to discover the landscape that ... (read more)

Report this review (#250881) | Posted by skr5e | Sunday, November 15, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars what an album.a ''prog ,folk , refreshing,moder,classic prog orgy '' The Hemulic Voluntary Band is by far the best album of ritual. everithing in this album is geat.great sounds ,really good songs ,very complex playing,unusual instruments iand lots of talent. the 5 short song are all great an ... (read more)

Report this review (#188650) | Posted by martinprog77 | Monday, November 10, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Masterpiece on every level! I hadn't heard Ritual before this album, and I wasn't exactly quite sure what kind of music they were playing. However I had heard Kaipa, so I knew about what kind of vocals to expect, since the singer, Patrik Lundström, is the same. This album consists of five sho ... (read more)

Report this review (#166079) | Posted by Tall Hair | Tuesday, April 8, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The Hemulic Voluntary Band, Ritual´s fourth studio album, with its folk flavour, complex variations, unusual instruments and childlike inspiration, fulfils the journey of this band into a really progressive musical realm. All the tracks but 'In The Wild' inspired by Tove Jansson´s novels, it has ... (read more)

Report this review (#146377) | Posted by avatar | Monday, October 22, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars And now I wonder why ever Ritual is Prog Related. Ritual has proven themselves to be quite unique indeed with their latest release, "The Heumulic Voluntary Band." Music that is plesant, upbeat, melodic, filled with counterpoint and polyrhythm can, witout a doubt, be found here. The opening titl ... (read more)

Report this review (#141409) | Posted by Inverted | Monday, October 1, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars When Ritual's last release, Think Like a Mountain, was released I was reviewing for the Dutch Progressive Rock Pages I knew next to nothing about the band. All I knew was that Patrik Lundstrom, their lead singer was also lending his talent in the then newly reformed Kaipa (and I had liked what I ... (read more)

Report this review (#140896) | Posted by CMeeker | Friday, September 28, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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