Rituals – Awake

When a relatively new band arrives in the (modern) metalcore genre, there are a few things I look for in search of me being able to enjoy the experience and have a want for more of what they offer. ‘Awake’ by Rituals covers most of what I instantly look for as they search for the melodic vocal hooks, slamming guitar riffs and thundering rhythms that will have you nodding your head in a timely fashion.

The offering from the Newcastle quartet is an impressive one to say the least and gives an insight into their exploration of different styles, not only vocally, but in song structures. I can clearly hear the inspiration from bands such as Funeral for a Friend and Architects when listening to them and it’s clear that mixture of the wandering clean vocal melodies and darker and heavier screaming works well.

With their previous singles having received a positive reception, I was intrigued as to what more they could offer that wouldn’t just be a ‘copy-and-paste’ job of what is ‘popular’ within the genre.

Rituals deliver an abundance of direction within each song and from the first beat there is a high tempo and energy to the recording. The song, ‘Awake’, has an aura about it that warrants not only a mosh pit, but plenty of opportunities for a sing-a-long too. This is a great opener and bodes well for what is to come.

Throughout the record the production is excellent and none of the instruments are neglected or indeed, overpowered. The band know how to write dynamic songs and understand when to play and when, not to. This is evident in ‘Turn Away From The Sun’. It dips into a darker more industrial feel, but backs that up with excellent soaring vocals as well an almost ethereal and almost religious backing vocals part at 2:17. This song is slightly slower in tempo than the opener but the quality never drops.

Progressing through the EP, the influences have no bounds. Heavy riffs, clean guitar parts, screaming, melodic cleans and song writing skills that are on par with a lot of the heavy hitters in the already huge genre. Are Rituals a modern metalcore band or are they something more?

With my favourite track being ‘Binding To Me’, I would hint at something more. The track is by far their best track on the EP and exudes an energy to that of Funeral for a Friend. It has the almost pop driven guitar with melodic vocals, heavy picked riffs and shows a great diversity of their musicianship.

A fond memory I have of Newcastle is driving down to see shows at the Dog & Parrot and support not only my friends bands, but other local bands I hadn’t come across before. Hopefully Rituals will be one of those bands that can pack out a venue like this and move onwards and upwards because they have the musical know how to do so, and deserve to, with the effort put in on ‘Awake’.

Rob O’Hara

Be sure to check out the release here on 3rd September!

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