Ritual King – The Infinite Mirror
Release Date: 17/11/23
Running Time: 45:43
Review by Oli Gonzalez
Ritual King. A band who’s name I’ve seen crop up on many line ups in and around the Manchester area of England, yet one who I’ve still never checked out. Time to change that and get my ears and eyes on their upcoming release, “The Infinite Mirror”. The band have been a staple in Manchester’s impressive Stoner and Doom metal scene for several years now. Bassist Dan in particular has been instrumental in building this scene through his work via Riffolution Promotions, and the high calibre of events the brand has put on. Ritual King have toured the UK extensively during their time, and even played festivals on mainland Europe. It still feels as though the best is yet to come from the trio, and that breakthrough album is still due. Can “The Infinite Mirror” be that breakthrough?
The album’s opening track ‘Flow State’ is an almost 10 minute journey, a journey of psychedelic goodness. Starting rather slow and gentle, the momentum and pace slowly pick up, building towards a mild frenzy at the midpoint. I found myself tapping my foot along and gently headbanging. The composition is complex and multi-layered, with the guitar and bass effortlessly weaving into and overlapping one another. It seems so experimental at times I wonder if they were just jamming in the studio at the time of recording. Which hints at compositional skill.
‘Worlds Divided’ has a different feel, slightly more on the Stoner side, with heavier, less complex riffs. This song is all about the groove, the whole groove, and nothing but the groove, especially in the earlier stages. Lead guitarist Jordan really lets rip in the mid-section of the song too, showing off his skills. However, I do wonder if being a power trio holds the band back a little at times like this, as things begin to sound a little thin when the bass and drums are left to hold down the fort. At this point of the album, it’s interesting how sparingly Jordan’s vocals appear, almost as if the instruments are left to do the talking for him. His vocals seem a little more prominent in ‘Landmass’ another song where slower, more impactful grooves are the order of the day. I found myself headbanging along again. Jordan again shows off his guitar skills in ‘Tethered’, being the highlight of the song. Another deceptively complex song, and one that defies conventional structures.
The final track ‘The Infinite Mirror’ is a highlight for me, especially with the more ambient, ethereal opening. The guitar tones are more stripped down, cleaner, offering a completely different vibe. This is before you’re yet again hit with some classic Stoner Rock goodness towards the latter ends of the song.
Then it ends. The ride’s over. That’s three quarters of an hour well spent in my eyes. All the songs seemingly flowed into one another so well, I didn’t even realise so long had passed.
I’d say the album is rather specialist, in that it’ll certainly appeal to fans of the Stoner side of music, but with the majority of the songs hovering around the 10 minute mark, this may be a more difficult sell to the wider public. This is a sophisticated and detailed effort, one which I believe could well be a launch pad for a band who have been slogging away in the underground scene for many years now.
01. Flow State
02. Worlds Divide
05. The Infinite Mirror
Jordan Leppitt – Lead Vocals & Guitar
Dan Godwin – Bass
Gareth Hodges – Drums & Backing Vocals
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