Dark Ritual, who inadvertantly have violated my yet-undisclosed five year moritorium of using the word "dark" as part of your band name, is a brooding trio originating from the Chicago area. Their self-titled five song demo is a fairly interesting introduction to their music and while far from perfect in many regards, is a worthwhile exploration of an up and coming band. Their sound is partly derived from an old school thrash sound mixed with occasional gothy (but not terribly so) moods and temperament. Dale Tippett's vocals are low in tone without resorting to schlocky, pseudo-Steele overtones. The songs on this demo are generally midpaced with occasional breakouts into heavier, frantic sections. During the more pensive moments, such as the verses of "Parts", the band finds a very strong mood. The demo, as expected with most demo recordings, suffers a bit from the pitfalls of not sounding completely fleshed out. The guitars often sound more phoned in from across the street than forceful and strong. Moreover, often it seems as though some more texture and depth to the guitar parts would enhance their music greatly. However, for the most part, the demo does sound fairly good. They even cover a certain Latino hunk's "La Vida Loca", reducing it to deadpan dryness and offering some levity to end the disc.
Based on this demo, Dark Ritual is a band that hopefully will continue on with their vein of music and flesh out their already solid ideas. Fans of more brooding, darker metal might want to contact this band to check out the demo. And maybe next time they'll cover Christine Aguilera.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 03/2001
3. My Skin Unbroken
4. CD Rom Track
This little self released disc represents the second demo I've heard from Chicago's Dark Ritual. Much like their previous demo, this disc shows off their development and general sound. The three songs here are very heavy, rhythmically tight and hint at the mainstream appeal of nu-metal without actually dwelling in any of its tedious cliche elements. The vocals on this release continue on in the brooding, neo-gothic area without actually sounding as dorky as, oh, Moonspell. Unlike the last demo, there aren't any pop covers done heavy, but the three songs do show what Dark Ritual is capable of. The production is very strong, giving the guitars definite prominence. In general, the three songs aren't quite powerful enough to make me drop everything to move to Chicago to become the band's biggest local fan, but as with the previous demo, it shows considerable potential and should appeal to those who like a dark, but heavy and very metal oriented sound.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 01/2002