"Offering" (Self-produced; 2002)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Pretty much the only thing related to metal that I can think of coming from Kansas is Origin. Yet, here is another band hailing from the rural plains of Kansas - Human Ritual. On "Offering" Human Ritual uses a death metal foundation and then liberally borrows from other genres to create a brutal yet somehow accessible sound. Stylistic influences from hardcore to nu-metal can be heard in "Offering" yet I don't see either the hardcore or nu-metal camps clamoring to Human Rituals' style. Rather, I hear fans of heavy music that can tolerate a little rhythmic diversity and expansive vocals as being the core target of Human Ritual's sound.

"Offering" offers four tracks of heavy, aggressive metal that utilizes two bassists, a percussionist, and a drummer to form the foundation of deep, earthy metallic rumblings from these tortured souls that call themselves Human Ritual. While not quite in the Meshuggah/Slipknot territory of heavy percussive music, Human Ritual do get credit for making modern aggressive metal with two bass guitarists.

It's not too often that one can say that guitars are NOT the primary focus of a heavy metal band. But fear not, the guitars are still integral to Human Ritual's sound - they're just not the be-all/end-all of the band's approach. Also, the songs lack guitar solos, but it doesn't sound like they need solos anyway - there is plenty going on in the music otherwise.

Thankfully, the vocals aren't one-dimensional. Yes, the requisite death metal growling are contained on "Offering" yet there are modern shouts and rhythmic, near-melodic lines that add depth and (dare I say it) feeling to the lyrical aggression wrought throughout.

"Offering" quickly decimates the seventeen minutes that this recording offers. The time rushes by so quickly you'll wonder when the band will get around to releasing a full-length CD. And imagine what a ten-track, forty-five minute presentation of relentless modern metal with a dense wall of bass-heavy and percussion-explosive sound will do.

"Offering" was produced by Human Ritual. For a first effort (self-produced, no less) "Offering" is an impressive 'introduction' to the band - let's hope fans return the favor.

Human Ritual are Brad Oliver on vocals, Ben Hammond on guitars, Travis Komahcheet on guitars and effects, Matt Miller and Kristy Komahcheet on bass, Andrew Bray on drums, and Anita Bray on percussion.

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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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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 05 Jun 2022 15:54:50 -0400 .