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RITUAL

Crossover Prog • Sweden


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Ritual biography
Formed in 1993 in Stockholm, Sweden

RITUAL is a relatively new Swedish band with a very unique sound, using acoustic instruments like violin, mandolina, bouzouki, etc.. Melodic complex rythms reminds of early YES but with a personal and innovative touch. An excellent folk-prog production with skilled musicians. (Claude)

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The Hemulic Voluntary BandThe Hemulic Voluntary Band
Inside Out / SPV 2007
$23.90
$17.75 (used)
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RITUAL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RITUAL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.88 | 94 ratings
Ritual
1995
3.06 | 54 ratings
Superb Birth
1999
3.95 | 103 ratings
Think Like A Mountain
2003
4.11 | 249 ratings
The Hemulic Voluntary Band
2007

RITUAL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.97 | 15 ratings
Live
2006

RITUAL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

RITUAL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

RITUAL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.87 | 4 ratings
Did I Go Wrong (Ep)
1999

RITUAL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 The Hemulic Voluntary Band by RITUAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.11 | 249 ratings

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The Hemulic Voluntary Band
Ritual Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Ritual by RITUAL album cover Studio Album, 1995
3.88 | 94 ratings

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Ritual
Ritual Crossover Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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

 The Hemulic Voluntary Band by RITUAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.11 | 249 ratings

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The Hemulic Voluntary Band
Ritual Crossover Prog

Review by sinslice

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. Guitars, harmonica, flute to coat a beautiful lyric. The Groke is somewhere in between. With drums protagonists, and Harmonium in parts implemented. Waiting by the Bridge is entertaining and enjoyable, not great, but plays a good role in the whole work.

The last issue, A Dangerous Journey, is superb, singular. Very acoustic and additional instruments achieved a special atmosphere. It grows in intensity and changing direction cohesively. A very good suite overflowing imagination and never loses interest. Magnificent!

Although, as I wrote before, Lundström's voice is not my greatest pleasure, but in Ritual I find it more acceptable than Kaipa. Maybe it's the texture of the songs.

 Think Like A Mountain by RITUAL album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.95 | 103 ratings

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Think Like A Mountain
Ritual Crossover Prog

Review by sussexbowler

3 stars Basically a nightmare to review!

There's alot going on. A lot of creativity, some interesting rhythms, which ultimately tend to dominate proceedings, the usual Swedish eccentricity, and all of which is within the confines of Ritual's sound!

Where it fails, is that no thought appears to have been made about putting the songs together in a cohesive album! It's all over the place!

I also found it difficult to warm to. It's almost like an album without heart.

Ultimately, the creativity and the rhythms make it worthy of a listen, and it's not a bad album at all. But it could have been better. I had to persevere simply because it WAS Ritual.

 The Hemulic Voluntary Band by RITUAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.11 | 249 ratings

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The Hemulic Voluntary Band
Ritual Crossover Prog

Review by Epignosis
Special Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

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.

 The Hemulic Voluntary Band by RITUAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.11 | 249 ratings

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The Hemulic Voluntary Band
Ritual Crossover Prog

Review by sussexbowler

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 focus and quality fall. The 'Hemulic voluntary band' and 'In the wild' are really interesting, complex and catchy. the next three tracks fell more medieval than contemporary, and this holds little appeal for me.

The last track, 'A dangerous journey' lasts some 26 minutes, and yet involves a painstakingly slow, brooding and repetitive build up, culminating in... well, not enough really. It's certainly no classic.

Because I downloaded the album at a reasonable price, I'm not too disappointed by the result. It was always a risk in terms of taste, despite me really liking one of their earlier albums. It didn't pan out this time because their style has changed. I enjoyed the first two tracks though.

 The Hemulic Voluntary Band by RITUAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.11 | 249 ratings

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The Hemulic Voluntary Band
Ritual Crossover Prog

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

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."

 Superb Birth by RITUAL album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.06 | 54 ratings

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Superb Birth
Ritual Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars It's funny that this is considered by their fans to be the least favourite yet it's the one I like the most. It's pretty straightforward music without that World-Music flavour that is prevelant with their others. And it's their most powerful album as well. It's loud.The band thanks THE FLOWER KINGS, ANEKDOTEN, GALLEON and Hansi Cross among others in the liner notes.

"Do You Want To See The Sun" has a heavy beat with vocals to start then it kicks in at the chorus as these contrasts continue. Catchy stuff. "Lobby" is also catchy and loud. "Sadly Unspoken" features strummed guitar as the vocals join in. "Did I Go Wrong" has this dark and heavy intro then it lightens when the vocals come in.The heaviness does come and go.

"6/8" opens with violin but it kicks in quickly with vocals. It's more powerful 1 1/2 minutes in as contrasts continue. "Coming Home" is an uplifting and powerful tune. "Into The Heat" is uptempo with vocals. "Really Something" has a heavy beat with vocals. "Mothersong" is another powerful track. "Golden Angel" opens with strummed guitar as the vocals join in. It does pick up and we get some clapping after 3 minutes. "Dinosaur Spaceship" opens with disonance and drums as the vocals join in.This rocks out pretty good as well. "A Voice Of Divinity" features piano and laid back vocals. Not a fan of this one.

3.5 stars

 The Hemulic Voluntary Band by RITUAL album cover Studio Album, 2007
4.11 | 249 ratings

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The Hemulic Voluntary Band
Ritual Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

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.

 Think Like A Mountain by RITUAL album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.95 | 103 ratings

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Think Like A Mountain
Ritual Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars This is RITUAL's third studio album released in 2003. As others have mentioned the vocalist also sang on KAIPA's comeback album and the guy certainly can sing, the problem for me is that i'm not really a fan of his voice. Besides the usual instruments we get whistles, hammered dulcimer, bouzouki, recorders, violin, cello and more.

"What Are You Waiting For" sounds like World Music to start with some of those more obscure instruments.That changes quickly as bass, drums and guitar kick in then vocals. A calm 2 1/2 minutes in then back to that full sound. "Humble Decision" is mellow with vocals but it does get fuller as these contrasts continue. A violin solo comes in after 2 minutes. "Explosive Paste" is a top three tune for me as we get a fairly heavy sound here with vocals. Cool tune. "Once The Tree Would Bloom" features intricate sounds, vocals and a beat. Flute 3 minutes in. "Mother You've Been Gone For Much Too Long" opens with outbursts of sound as vocals come in. It settles back as the vocals continue. A change 3 minutes in as an intense instrumental section arrives. Strings 5 1/2 minutes in as it settles then that earlier soundscape returns.

"Think Like A Mountain" is another top three track.The vocals sound different here and I love the bass especially when the organ joins in around 3 minutes. "Mooman Took My Head" is one I can't get into at all.The piano and vocals are the focus early on. "Infinite Justice" is the final top three song for me. I just like how heavy it is, but that is contrasted with the lighter sections throughout. "On" is a World Music flavoured instrumental. "Shamanarama" kics in quickly with vocals. It's not bad. "Breathing" is mellow with reserved vocals. It's fuller a minute in as contrasts continue. "Off" is a short mellow piece to end the album.

I would think the majority of Prog fans would find lots to like here.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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