Thursday February 22nd 2018

Ritual Blade – “Hidden Pain”


Ritual Blade – “Hidden Pain”


I band I like and I’ve reviewed positively, The New Frustrations, play music that is influenced by the original punk and new wave bands. Though melodic and even catchy (“Right As Rain”) their music I feel, is still substantial, but I could see how some folks who follow TNB might find them a little tame.

Now, Ritual Blade, in style, is the exact opposite of that band.

So, now I hear you thinkin’- “This Slimedog is one daffy dawg but why in-carnation is he jabbering on about another band, while he’s supposedly reviewing Ritual Blade? A band, that uses correctly, the tags of metal, d-beat and hardcore? Is their any rhyme to his reason? Has his very last neuron evaporated in his brain with his last shot of Jager and sip of Tecate beer.” (Both proud sponsors of TNB.)

Well, yeah, his neurons have long been deceased, obviously, and he’s just operating on fumes but to pass this back to the first person- let him please explain.

At The Grommet’s last hot dog eating, Satanic disembowling initiation, family picnic, punk rock hullabaloo- one of the members of The New Frustrations, who played, may I add, the Satanic ritual quite splendidly- threatened me with harm, unfortunately, if I disclosed who he was. Or more likely, if I could now remember who he was, and said his son played in Ritual Blade and if I could check them out.

I did so promptly. Yeah, so that show was six months ago but let me reassure you, the neurons who were in charge of that information have been fired, or at least, coated with a gloss of Jagermeister and Tecate beer, and floated far off shore, into the land of lost neurons, never to be heard of- while Germany and Mexico rejoice as they are reunited once again!

But on a side note- Ritual Blade plays some potent, metal influenced music and are quite worthy of the d-beat tag, which to my neuron-less brain and decimated ears are producing some of the best local music around (i.e. D-Sagawa and Goolagoon).

So please accept my apologies, and everyone else please listen to their music, and let’s let this EP rip:

After a few moments of screeching feedback, “Die Here/Move On” explodes with some intense shouting/hardcore death vocals as instruments with strings pummel headlong, like a bulldozer of sound while instruments with sticks and animal skin beat heavily along. This is pure emotion, pure terror- an emergency or an accident where the normal reaction would be to run away from it. But here it’s deliberate, exciting and exhilarating. This is an unrelenting show of d-beat power and fury where the guitar changes slightly, tossing in a new lick towards the end, that doesn’t change the intensity. This is one powerful slab of emotion and aggression and is one great song.

With a few chuggin’, fuzzin’ power chords “Veil” reveals itself, eventually, in a headbanging, almost funky beat as the venomous vocal spits out it’s poison with ease. The awesome groove moves along like a large, wounded, enraged animal with guitar chords slashing into the wounds rather hard. Soon the tempo accelerates slightly to the point the song is actually rockin’ out. Then the beat is dragged down into an ominous, death rattle with an almost rap like call and response. This solid groove remains until the end of another great song, my favorite on the EP.

“Hidden Pain,” starts with a trilling, grindcore like guitar lead that reminds me a bit of Sonic Youth in its echo-y dissonance. After an anguished yell, the emphatic vocals join the near drum-less fray as the instruments lay a lair to catch his exasperated disgust. The drums become more prominent in a chorus that pulls all parts together but still creates a dark pulse- like a knife, or a blade, positioned at your throat. “The pressure to make the whole thing work,” is followed by some near hysterical black metal vocals. This song grooves along, tension building, the veins on your neck bulging, the sweat on your brow increasing. After an icy skate provided by the trilling guitar we’re thrust into an awesome, headbanging groove that then speeds forward into a smashing finish.

Ritual Blade plays some awesome, intense, cutting edge music that also reflects the mood and angst of our times.

And though Andy and I grew up in the early punk scene of the late seventies, eighties- are ears are open to what’s happening now and we have little regard for nostalgia.

Much like Nick, who plays some relevant, current  hardcore in Fast Times and whose father plays in Nervous Eaters, a great band but from another time, a band Andy and I used to watch in the eighties. So does Ritual Blade play music that is more current now than The New Frustrations. But it is all good, as the young folks say, it’s all great music made by people reflecting their age and their time and being honest of who they are and where they’ve been and what they feel.

I feel an ice pick should be driven through the groin of Jess Sessions.

And though I love new bands influenced by traditional punk, I also love the bands that have tags like d-beat and grindcore and I feel Ritual Blade is a welcome band of the later.

And though my few remaining neurons may walk on crutches and cough a bit when they climb a stairs, though they may appear a bit wheezy.

They’re still aware and they still believe in the best of the new-

And that would be bands like Ritual Blade.


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