The Hemulic Voluntary Band
Style: Progressive Rock
Release date: September 3rd 2007

Let me take you back to the time when dinosaurs walked the Earth and the progressive rock scene counted bands like Camel, Gentle Giant, Genesis, King Crimson and Jethro Tull as their leaders... Yes, we are way back in the early 70's, and Ritual from Sweden could musically easily have been a part of that exact scene.

They mix elements of rock, folk and world music into a very 70's inspired style of avant-garde progressive rock. Ritual is by many insiders considered as a very innovative band and is some what of a phenomenon in the international rock scene. This is however my first encounter with this unusual band.

Unusual in the sense that they do their stuff with conviction and style, but at the same time their style is only appealing to a very, very small part of the rock community. And frankly you do have to be a huge fan of this particular sound and in the right mood to really get into this kind of music!

So is this any good? Absolutely, 'The Hemulic Voluntary Band', which is the band's fourth studio album, is a very tasteful, well thought-through piece of rock music. Just like many of their influences they do span over a great deal of genres, and the instrumentation is also very varied. It's not every day you listen to an album where they use instruments like bouzouki, nyckelharpa or harmonium...

The centrepiece on the album is the almost 27 minutes long epic "A Dangerous Journey", which captures the essence of Ritual to the fullest, the perfect finale to the album. The Middle Ages inspired acoustic folk song; "Late in November" with its cool accapella part is another highlight on the album.

This is surely not for everybody, but if you have a thing for this style and/or the above mentioned bands, then I suggest you'd give this one a serious thought.

Label: InsideOut Music
Distribution: Target (Denmark)
Reviewed by: Kenn Jensen
Date: September 8th 2007
Website: www.ritual.se