"Frayed" (Self-produced)

Reviewed by Rose Grech

Dark Ritual’s “Frayed” is a CD/CD-ROM containing three new tracks and a video for "Frayed." This is a follow up from their demo released in 2000.

"Frayed" is also the title of the first song, which is the fastest and hardest track. The sequence between the guitar and drums create a great hard pounding effect. The vocals are clear coherent screams that add realism to the song.

The second track, "Princess," has a slower start with numerous guitar build-ups. It drastically quickens with the drumbeats as the dark soothing vocal enters. Throughout the song the tempo varies from heart pounding pulses to a more relaxed/mellow pace leaving you at the end out of breath.

The last song, "My Skin Unbroken," has some similar elements to "Princess." Its pace and tempo has an equal variation so it sounds more balanced than "Princess." It also does not get as fast and heavy. 

Overall, Dark Ritual seem to have their own style that is heavy with some melody. However, their sound does not quite fit their name - which is a good thing. I expected them to be more brutal with a few keyboard/synthesizer samples to add the typical cheesy elements creating an eerie sound effect. I was pleasantly surprised and glad I was wrong. 

You can check this Chicago based band out for yourself at http://www.darkritual.com

"Dark Ritual" (Demo)

Reviewed by Alicia Downs

Dark Ritual is a Chicago, Illinois-based metal band; no other sub-labels are necessary - Dark Ritual is just pure metal. They divulge into an unadulterated form of raw metal combining a flair for darkness with angst-ridden lyrics. Their five-song demo offers four of their original works and a rendition of Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca."(!)

While in and of itself the demo does not contain anything all that substantial, (the vocals and instrumentals are only slightly better than average), the torment and emotion delivered through the throbbing guitars and  agonizing lyrics are enough to maintain your attention. 

The opening track, "Artemis," was not the best of the bunch with vocals that came across weaker than the rest, but it did offer ample musical incorporations. "Artemis" was followed by "Flesh" and then "Untitled," two tracks that legitimized the band's talents further and picked up on vocal offerings. 

The most significant track was "Parts." With its use of spoken word lyrics the aura was similar to that of Tool, although Dark Ritual was impressive in maintaining their own identity despite the resemblance.  

And back to that interpretation of "Livin' La Vida Loca." I was not sure whether to laugh or cry, but it was disturbing to say the least. And although I should probably be beaten profusely in at least three third world countries for the following statement, I can wholeheartedly say that Dark Ritual's cover made me appreciate the original. I now completely understand where the statement "don't go there" became legitimized. 

But, demented renditions aside, this demo compilation was worthwhile. Although I was not completely struck, there was nothing there that made me want to hold my ears while shrieking in pain, and I can appreciate that and thank Dark Ritual for their talented efforts. 

But don't take my word for it, check them out for yourself. More information can be found on their web site which is conveniently located at: http://www.darkritual.com.  

Dark Ritual are Dale Tippett (lead vocal and guitars), Justin Smith (back up vocals and bass) and Agustin Jaramillo (drums). 

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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