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Ritual King – Ritual King Award winner

Ritual King
Ritual King
by Dave Nowels at 12 March 2020, 11:43 AM

RITUAL KING hail from Manchester, UK and fall into the ever expanding Heavy Blues, Psych, Stoner genres. These genre labels I might add, really do nothing but box in bands with preconceived perceptions in a lot of ways. But enough soap box, whatever style of music you want to call this trio, named RITUAL KING, their debut self-titled release on Ripple Music is one you'll definitely want to take for a spin.

Truth is, from the opening distortion of the first cut, “Valleys”, the band had me hooked. The distortion builds to fuzzy guitar flailing drums and rock steady bass grooves. There's great riffs, catchy hooks and infectious harmonies. It's a tad out of the ordinary for music as heavy as it is, but it's impeccably constructed. I'll be damned if Leppitt's guitar doesn't take on a jazz fueled tone and style during “No Compromise” and even more so in “Headspace”. The guitar is Leppitt's primary weapon, but make no mistake he's quite capable handling the vocals as well. It often feels like the voice and guitar are melded as one, and that sure creates an interesting dynamic.

Goodwin's bass and Hodges' drum techniques are no slouch either. With Leppitt's playing dancing about here and there, Goodwin admirably and quite effectively fills the spaces between creating a foundation for Lippett and Hodges to build on. The intro into “Headspace” is a perfect example, but that sense continues throughout the track. (Diggin the Alan Watts spoken portion as well.) Hodges' playing really stood out and impressed me track after track. There's such a ominous restraint to his playing, like a man just barely in control, and likely to spiral off into the ether at any moment. I have a feeling it's that way by design, but even if it's not, it completes the sound the band has perfectly.

It's a tough endeavor to pick favorites here. I think “Headspace” would be my go-to recommendation, as I feel like it personifies the trio best. That said, “Dead Roads” has a serious charm about it as well. I can say, with all confidence, there's not a bad , or throwaway track present here. If you like the opening cut, “Valleys”, you're going to be in for the long haul with RITUAL KING. One of the better releases I've heard this year. Well done boys.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Valleys
2. No Compromise
3. Headspace
4. 602
5. Dead Roads
6. Restrain
7. Black Hills
Jordan Leppitt – Lead Vocals, Guitar
Dan Goodwin – Bass
Gareth Hodges – Drums, Backing Vocals
Record Label: Ripple Music


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Edited 06 December 2022

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