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!
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
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.