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Review: 'Rituals'
'Awake (EP)'   

-  Genre: 'Heavy Metal' -  Release Date: '3rd September 2021'

Our Rating:
Having made their first tentative steps with a series of singles, Newcastle-based metalcore quartet Rituals are showcasing the full expanse of their sound and songwriting on this, their debut EP. The title track, which was also released as the lead single, is the first of the four cuts, and it sets out their stall pretty convincingly, with piston-pumping drumming driving some particularly knotty riffage that churns and growls and bites hard. The bass is dense and Lewis MacRae’s vocals are strong, even when he switches from full-throared snarling roar to cleanly melodic.

This is nowhere more apparent than on ‘Turn Away from the Sun’ that bears strong comparisons to Filter and Stabbing Westward, both bands who stay heavy without resorting to the raw screaming vocal style. Against the backdrop of juggernaut guitars and piledriving percussion, there’s nuance and detail, with some layered lead guitar work, and this is sophisticated songwriting – not because it’s immensely complex, but because it balances the more complex aspects with the kind of monster chug – and that’s accomplished work.

The fourth and final track, ‘Carved Out’ mulls out all the stops and turns everything up to 11, including the pace – this one blasts in hard and fast, and the breakdown isn’t your usual tinkly moment of delicacy, but a brief passage that’s decidedly dark in atmosphere that sets the expectation perfectly for everything crashing back in. If the fade at the finish seems like an unusual move, it’s a good one, in that it deviates from convention and trails away leaving a kind of suspense, and the listener wanting more.

  author: Christopher Nosnibor

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