a little chat with the ultra-heavy RITUALS from Phoenix
RITUALS was formed in late 2010 in Phoenix (Arizona) featuring current members of HELLAS MOUNDS and former members of ABYSMAL. RITUALS play a blend of slow, heavy and pummeling riffs with a mixture of sonically versed melancholy melodies, and are currently working on an EP with a forthcoming release date.
This summer the band has opened for YOB and DARK CASTLE; some more recent ones saw the band playing with THE ATLAS MOTH, THOU and BATTILUS, while next ones planed will be with MOURNFUL CONGREAGATION and BLACK COBRA...Playing with such great bands, after no more than one year of existence, speaks for itself !!!
Listening to their crushing ep, I'd say that RITUALS is indeed the kind of perfect opener for this type of soulful bands; there's a great blend of blackness, anger and refined atmospheres here too, something hugely massive and powerful which takes you alternatively or at the same time by the throat and guts, I imagine how fuckin' loud this band can play on stage !
You'd better check them out right now, because they'll catch you up anyway sooner or later and your ears will bleed even more !!! If you need more to be convinced, their signing with ALERTA ANTIFASCISTA RECORDS (home of GRIEF, MORNE, SAVIOURS, etc...) tends definitely to confirm that RITUALS is one of the strongest hopes of the US scene !!!
In order to deepen things about RITUALS, I asked a few questions to vocalist Brandon :
* Even if I'm sure you're gonna be huge quickly, RITUALS is a new name in the scene, especially here in Europe, could you please present the band members and tell us your objectives when you formed one year ago ?
Rituals is myself (Brandon Garrabrants) on vocals, Gregory Colson on guitar, Blake Wissman on guitar, Jared Regan on bass and Andy Rich on drums. Our objectives a year ago when this all began was to make loud music that was honest and help contribute to phoenix and arizona in general. Greg and I had kept in touch over time, him being in Hellas Mounds and the rest of us being in local bands here and there. We all wanted to be in a band that was dedicated and helped bring local/out of state shows to az.
* The name RITUALS would be usually affiliated with death or black satanic kind of bands, in your case it would be rather more something like "sonic rituals", how do you relate it to your music ?
That's the first thing that comes to most, but in this case, our name is concerning the habits and situations we as humans must face in life and put ourselves through. The daily patterns, the things we're self concious of, the pain we inflict upon eachother. The shit we all think and experience that at times is or isn't necessary.
*There's an increasing development of bands mixing sludge/post HC/doom and even Black metal all together, more currently from the USA than in Europe which is more traditionnal, what's your opinion about that and how do you situate RITUALS in the scene ?
Traditional doom is deeply rooted in Europe so it's completely understandable that it has remained for the most part in its original form. I think the U.S. blending so many genres is a product of the great influence Europe has made on our music. I also feel it's an homage to Europe and the rest of the world when bands in the U.S. borrow from genres across the earth. We feel inspired by the bands that started it all and it's a natural progression to want to not only pay homage but create something new just as they did. I think sticking to only one genre can be a fantastic thing if it's what you are setting out to do, but we especially as a band enjoy exploring different sounds because so many bands and people have inspired us.
* The name of your songs are a bit intriguing, but maybe it's enough explicit and I'm looking for useless complications ! is "Takotsubo cardiomyopathy" speaking about medicine and "induced-compliance Paradigm" about your vision of the world ?
You're right. Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy is a type of medical condition. It's the sudden weakening of the heart muscle, which can lead to heart failure. It's said that loss and traumatic events can cause this. I wrote it about the end of a relationship and the feeling I got that I literally couldn't continue living without this person and a lot of times felt like it would be easier to be gone. Induced-Compliance Paradigm is a good an example of how I feel about the world. It's about an experiment done on students that were given a task with a reward and students given the same task and were rewarded close to nothing. The students with the large reward were dissonant and the ones with the lesser reward found ways to convince themselves to internalize their feelings. We're living this life all as if there's a final goal or milestone we're going to reach. We're conditioned to keep working and moving along as if there's a reward awaiting us. We don't realize that a lot of the time, we miss out on living because we're too busy convincing ourselves that this is happiness and forget about what we truly want. In the end, there is no big day or event that justifies losing yourself. You live once and then you're dead forever. I'd rather spend my time for myself than trying to convince myself that the montonous, daily 9-5 life is where I want to be.
* Your style is generally ultra-heavy, dark and angered but can also be melancholic and coldly melodic... how do you manage this duality ? This mixture really became a thing of its own. We didn't set out to make music that clashed or had parts arranged a certain way. Our moods and emotions definitely came through and I think that's what has kept things moving along so well. We aren't being artificial with each other or the music. We're expressing the fucked up things we all go through in sound because we can all relate to the primitive feeling of wanting to fucking lose it and scream your heart out. It's every range of shit we all go through. The calm, the beauty and the desperation. * You've opened for Yob and Dark Castle, how did you enjoy it ? Next gigs planed with The Atlas Moth and Thou are also very exciting, you guys have talent and surely deserve it , but are you conscious that things are yet turning out great for you ? Those were amazing shows. As fans, that's about as good as a show can get. But to be able to play alongside bands that have had such an impact on us, we are very grateful. The Atlas Moth and Thou are going to be mammoth. Again, all of these bands have played a large part in the music we play, so a chance for them to come to Phoenix and then to play with them, is just mindblowing. As far as success goes, we are a family and we are completely dedicated to making music we are proud of. Money isn't an issue, because we don't care about it. We are very excited about the future and what it holds for us.
* Could you now present the ep and the process to get a copy and the T-shirt ? any possibility to see the ep released on CD version ? Our first EP/LP will be available early 2012 through us and our friends at Alerta Antifascista Records. We will.also have an online store going up soon, You can find more info at ritualsmusic.blogspot.com and of course you can always get merch at our live shows too.
* Anything to add ?
Nothing much more to add other than thanks for caring enough about what we are doing to ask us these questions, this shit always humbles us, we honestly just love making music and having fun. Also thanks to everyone who has supported us along the way, we wouldn't be able to do this without all of you!