Soldiers Under Satan's Command (Wild Rags)
By: Jeb Branin
RITUAL play a classic flavored brand of black metal that has far more connection to the European thrash flavors of the mid eighties than it does the Scandinavian influences of the nineties. Pure heavy metal riffs form the backbone of their music and combine with a multitude of melodic intervals and guitar breaks for flavor and complexity. The production is crystal clear and sharp yet doesn't detract from the raw edge of the music at all. The vocals are harsh growls and are definitely the most contemporary aspect of RITUAL's sound. Any fan of pure metal is going to instantly connect to this album. Just take one listen to the chugging riffs of a tune like "The Mysterious Portals" and you'll know what I mean. The thematic lyrics are a tad cliche but are dominant enough in the band's presentation to detract much from the delivery. All in all this is one of the best black metal investments you'll be able to make this year.
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