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Ritual - Glimpses from The Story of Mr. Bogd CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

4.27 | 16 ratings

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5 stars I decided to write the first review after a long time about this short EP from a band which is in my opinion a wonder among contemporary prog artists (and not only). Original Swedish folk-proggers exist for some 30 years by now,having released 4 albums, last being "The Hemulic Voluntary Band" over 15 years ago. I met them in 2013 on a concert for about few dozens of listeners in a park in Gothenburg and that was among the greatest music experiences I witnessed (including my favorite prog giants such Yes, Steve Hackett, Pain of Salvation..), if not the greatest. Yet, Ritual is largely unknown, even in the prog circles which is in a way a mystery to me. I understood they don't like all marketing stuff, so they do not promote themselves much on social media... However, this band is HUGE when it comes to talent and music itself. The EP coming suddenly out of nowhere 3 years ago, sounds that aspires to be among their best music ever, having in mind that they already released albums reaching to 5 stars in the past.

On this little masterpiece, we again have a concentration of a very unique music mix with elements including Yes (at their best in early 70s or 80s) melodic sense, vocal/arrangement acrobatics of early Queen, complexity/playfulness of Gentle Giant, and important folk part reminding Led Zeppelin/Jethro Tull. We can also hear their distinctive instruments like bouzouki or nyckelharpha still in their arsenal. Lyrical concept, judging from the excerpts, reminds of The Lamb, or Tommy but more uplifting, tongue-in-cheek way as in Ritual's tradition. However not in a shallow way, it's an emotional roller-coaster. 4 tracks contain everything from the opening ultra-catchy yet complex track, through demonic lunatic carousel and frenetic Nordic folk ride, to the prog/operatic climax of The Mice. Patrick Lundstrom's voice (also Kaipa) is in a perfect shape, same 25 (!) years before this on their self-titled album. His guitar work is stellar, too. Actually, all 4 musicians (still original line-up) show again equally great performances, in their prime - astonishing amount of talent, variety, energy, musicianship and creativity. Just listen and get immersed into it.

The final question is, will the complete creation, one of the most anticipated albums of (at least) this decade, see the light of the day?

stewe | 5/5 |


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