Rituals – Show Me The Signs EP
Release Date: 02/09/22
Running Time: 11:06
Review by Dark Juan
I’m still here, you know.
Will anyone ever let me out?
I’ll be good, I promise. You took my weapons away and I’m nothing without my weapons. There’s still open wounds on my arms where you tore out my wet-wired combat systems and my biomorphic rifle. You even took my augmented targeting eye. I’m no threat to anyone at the moment. The blood loss and the rupturing of my nutrient sacs have left me weaker than a day-old kitten and I can barely lift up my head. Look, the blades under my fingernails won’t even extrude anymore. The electro-convulsive shock “therapy” put paid to that. Let me out, you fucking bastards. I’m no longer combat capable. In fact, it’s pretty safe to say I’m not capable of anything right now. You could send in a toddler and they’d take me the fuck apart. I’M NOT A THREAT and I’m dying. If it’s my time I want to die in the open air with the sun on my face and not in the fucking cage, you hear me? I’ve been telling you this for days and you’ve got my vitals on your displays and you can see that I’m fading!
LET ME OUUUUUUUT!!!
I can hear booted footsteps and rattling coming down the corridor. The grinding of metal on metal as the key enters the lock and twists. The door is thrown open and an entire fire team of combat-boosted troopers take up crossfire positions around the room. I show them the ragged scars on my arms where my rifle was torn from me and stagger towards the wall. While they push my face into the wall and start to secure my arms, probably for yet another interrogation session, I subtly alter my body chemistry, speed up my metabolism and oxygen/ blood concentration and feel my mouth fill with acidic saliva. Spun roughly round by one of the men I spit straight into his eyes and watch them start to burn as the acid in my saliva eats into them. Arching my arm around his throat and using him for cover I form a fist with my left hand and direct it in the direction of another trooper. A quick clench and the hidden fleshports open and diamond sharpened, titanium tipped bone darts from the webbing between my fingers are released to bury themselves in the face of the poor bastard opposite me. He falls, the fast-acting neurotoxin coating the darts going to work on his nervous system almost immediately and dropping him like a twitching, spasming sack of shit.
My body automatically shoves energy from healing reserves into what combat function I have left, the third man being obliterated by organic explosive bolts shot from my shoulder launcher, which melds back into my flesh after discharge. I sink my armoured teeth into the throat of the trooper I still have hold of, tear it out in a welter of blood and cartilage and launch him at the last trooper standing. I follow this flying corpse up and bury my fist in the collar of the trooper as I look deep into his wide, terrified eyes and pin him against the wall. My rictus grin becomes a serene smile as I extrude a long, wickedly sharp bone knife out of my right wrist, below my upturned hand, before I push it, exquisitely slowly, up through his chin, his soft palate, through his sinuses and ultimately into the base of his brain. He’s down too and I drop him after watching his eyes roll backwards in his head. Dickheads, you can’t fight a man who is a biomorph. I’m still at least 86% combat effective but nutrients and rest from trauma are needed. Thankfully this place is easy to escape from, and escape I have and returned to…
Dark Juan Terrace, where you find me recuperating and hiding out from the authorities and listening to a three-track EP from young British bruisers Rituals, while the mechadendrites in my flesh reconstruct and reconfigure my biomorphic rifle.
Parts of the above story may not be entirely accurate.
Rituals are from Newcastle and this is the first time they have come to my attention on record although they appear to be building up a positive buzz on the UK gig circuit. But what, I heard literally no one ask because I am in my home and therefore not privy to the outside world currently do they sound like and are they worth your attention, and that of the UK Metal scene in general?
The opening cut on the EP is called ‘Show Me The Signs’ and it is so Emo it makes me want to cry in my bedroom and claim that my entire family abused me cruelly by not letting me wear fishnet gloves, black nail polish and New Rocks to school. Opening with a clean chord medley, but with a very odd little half-second pause before the distortion kicks in, it’s all soaring choruses, impassioned clean vocals and heavily produced guitars – Dark Juan can easily picture the guyliner and the power fist on the high notes and the swoopy Emo dreamboy haircut. It’s a good tune though, and the production of the whole EP is pretty groovy with only (as usual) the snare drum sounding like someone twatting Tupperware with sticks of celery. Everything else is very clear and distinct.
Second track in is entitled ‘Oceans Subside’ and it appears that Rituals had listened to quite a lot of Korn before writing this tune. Now, the band do describe themselves as “Contemporary Metal” so some modern influences should be clearly discernible. Do not necessarily dismiss my having a poke at the band as not liking them – Korn are just as viable an influence as Ten Years After or some obscure Blues band from Kentucky who only released one single in 1957, that you can only obtain after giving a blowjob to One Tooth Dave in the record shop in Mammoth Cave, KY. Mammoth Cave. Like your mum’s after I have visited. Fnaar Fnaar. It is also a rather good tune with a strong emo bent on the chorus once again, but with some very chonky riffing and a very Nu-Metal guitar line in the verse.
The last offering on this small platter is ‘In Devastation’ and this is where Rituals start to really shine with a song that is an unholy result of a violent sexual encounter between Korn, Slipknot and Optimum Wound Profile. This song is a speedy, aggressive gut-puncher out to flatten you in less than a minute. It is an uncompromising monster where the vocalist lets fly with the kind of roaring that normally only comes out of Mordor, the drummer appears to be wildly spasming and guitarist and bassist flail desperately to keep up. There’s still some clean emotional singing but rather less of it than on the first two tracks. This is a cracking tune.
So there we have it. Rituals. A band that melds the sonic fury of Slipknot at their most aggressive, the spasmodic Nu-Metal of Korn and the soft, seductive crooning of AFI and HIM. Makes a change from my usual fare of oddities, Synthwave and all the 70’s tinged Doom in the world, but absolutely well worth taking a punt on if you want to hear some well-produced, high fidelity Modern Metal from a young and promising UK band. Dark Juan will ALWAYS champion the underground in jolly old Blighty. Shame they haven’t put anything about who plays what on any bio or anything because I can’t find out. The PR company didn’t include it in their EPK either. This is mildly irritating.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Rituals 8/10 for a generally brilliant EP marred by a bit of dodgy song construction and the band wearing their influences rather too proudly on their sleeves. Still, it knocks the block off a lot of other releases this year, so the lads should be proud. Howay!
And they can always take pride and solace in the fact that they will always be better than Warrior fucking Soul.
01. Show Me The Signs
02. Oceans Subside
03. In Devastation
If the band would like to furnish me with their identities and what they do, that’d be grand. Otherwise it’s done by description. From left to right…
Leopard skin-shirted love god – does something.
Slightly dodgy looking backward cap and blue denim-wearing geezer lurking in the background – does something else.
“Strawberry blonde” obvious frontman with questionable moustache and swoopy, dreamy emo-Hitler haircut – vocals.
Long-haired throwback to the big four thrash bands circa 1987. Bet he’s wearing white basketball boots – does stuff other than vocals. Probably.
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.