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Ritual – Trials Of Torment (Reissue)

Trials Of Torment (Reissue)
by Santiago Puyol at 29 March 2019, 8:58 PM

RITUAL are Speed and Thrash Metal band from Cleveland, Ohio. Though recently reformed, the band was originally founded in 1985 as FIREDANCE and went through several name changes before settling into RITUAL around the original release of “Trials Of Torment” in 1993. They blend Speed Metal and Thrash influences with a bit of a more melodramatic classic Heavy Metal flair and some Prog undertones. This new remaster by Robert Romagna features two bonus tracks: a studio song and a live version of fifth album track “The Forgotten”.

“She Rides The Sky” starts in epic nature, with a bass-and-drums-led intro, before getting into full speed mode. It’s a truly energetic opener that does its job properly, introducing the listener into the world of the band. The chorus is catchy and proggy, with acoustic guitar accentuations and a time signature change that give it a dramatic vibe. A beautiful coda brings everything to an end. “Where I Belong” follows with a thrashier approach, building upon the sound of the first track. There’s some great soloing and the drumming gets quite complex.

Evoking IRON MAIDEN’s more focused songs, “Espionage” moves between fast-tempo verses and slowed down riffing in the chorus. The vocal theatrics by Juan Ricardo surely bring Bruce Dickinson to mind. The tempo changes could be a bit more polished, but work fine most of the time, bringing a truly sophisticated edge to the songwriting. “Addicted to Fear” feels like the little sister of the previous song, albeit even more clear in structure. Its chorus gets even more dramatic exploring a lower range from Ricardo than the songs before.

“The Forgotten” adds a bit more texture with echoey clean guitars amidst the chaos of its intro, although it feels a little too long and repetitive in comparison with previous tracks. Surely could have been a minute shorter. Meanwhile, crazy drumming gets “Pain of It All” started, one of the proggiest songs in the album. Emery Ceo’s drumming and Jack Kilcoyne’s bass shine throughout the 5 minutes of this song, grounding all the tempo and time signature changes present.

Kilcoyne gets even more present on “In The Dungeon”, a sinister and claustrophobic song. There’s a lot of depth to the basslines in this song, adding to the oppressive atmosphere that it builds. Things get truly heavy around the two-minute mark, with everything building towards another epic guitar solo.

“Dementia” moves with a strong sense of rhythm and a funky bassline, throwing in some punkish bits with crazy fast tempo and great riffing. Sandwiched between the two longest songs on the album, it’s necessary to pick up the pace a little. The longest song on the album goes next.

The closest the band gets to 80’s-era METALLICA is with “Obscured by Twilight”. Following a soft, thrash ballad intro, the band moves through several tempos. The guitar solo around 3:36 is one of the best moments in the record, bringing a melodic, almost emotional side that never forgets shredding technicality. Soft, clean guitars close in a lovely coda. We get to the end of the original ten-song tracklist with “City of the Dead” - a fast, fun closer.

The bonus tracks in this reissue are great. “Beyond the Sea” is quite fun, almost Power Metal at times, with some great riffs. I’m not really a fan of the fade-out at the end, but it’s just fine for a bonus track. The live version of “The Forgotten” shows the song gets an extra kick from a live setting.

Overall, “Trials of Torment” is a remarkable album that’s still a product of its time. The production feels truly appropriate, although I cannot truly judge how much of an improvement it might be from the original pressing. It does fit the mood and highlights the rhythm section quite a lot, something metal records sometimes forget to do.

I hope there’s some new music from this band moving forwards.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. She Rides The Sky
2. Where I Belong
3. Espionage
4. Addicted To Fear
5. The Forgotten
6. Pain Of It All
7. In The Dungeon
8. Dementia
9. Obscured By Twilight
10. City Of The Dead
11. Beyond The Sea (Bonus track)
12. The Forgotten (Live 2018, Bonus track)
Juan Ricardo – Vocals
Bob Allerton – Guitars
Jack Kilcoyne – Bass
Mike Ruz - Guitars
Emery Ceo – Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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Edited 02 December 2022

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