Ritual Killing [Germany]
Ritual Killing is a relatively young death/thrash metal band out of Germany, with New Tribe being their debut full length release. Unsurprisingly, as the band’s name and album title suggests, tribal themes and musical elements would be rather heavy on New Tribe, though as one would soon realise, they prevent themselves from heading towards a musical direction that would usually be classified under folk metal.
The opening Intro track hits the listener with a flurry of tribal percussions, leaving one at once in amazement but also wondering what the band’s music would sound like. But any questions of the band’s metal musicality is dispelled as the album begins proper with Liar with the music instantly reminding one of Roots-era Sepultura. And this would not only be in the tribal intro that one has been exposed to, as the tribal instincts and feel are still heavily present, especially so in the drumming of Fabian and the tone of his drums. Songs like Command Me even see the band having traditional percussions at the background, supporting the drumming of Fabian. Furthermore, Simon’s gruff and savage growls are rather reminiscent of Max Cavalera’s works on the Roots album, reinforcing comparisons to the aforementioned. Bassist Tom provides to the heaviness of the band’s brand of tribal death/thrash as well, such as on the intro of My Owner.
The songs and playing style of the band on New Tribe are rather percussive, with the instruments often working together to produce hard-hitting rhythms, especially with the bass drums. The songwriting is also rather spectacular, with songs on the album being rather catchy with their anthemic feel and choruses that easily get the listener to pump his fists in the air. The technical aspects of the band’s music are also not compromised, with songs like Command Me even bringing in a some slight Decapitated feel, the complex lead lines reminding one of the classic riffs of Spheres of Madness at times. The leads of of guitarist Flo, rather than the barbaric and chaotic style that one might expect from a band playing such a style of music, comes across as rather melodic and emotional, a nice contrast to the aggressive rhythmic section. The album ends off nicely with the complete percussion track Outro, like war drums signalling the preparation to go to war.
Unfortunately, the album drags on for slightly too long, and as with many other albums that rely on its percussive elements, things start to get rather monotonous after awhile, especially with the slower tracks like Deadly Thinking, making the track sound longer than it really is.
With New Tribe, Ritual Killing brings in a sound that is more akin to South American extreme metal despite their European, or specifically, German origins. Sure, the era of Sepultura that New Tribe brings to mind might not be the band’s best, but the music here is catchy as hell, brought to more extreme levels with the musicianship on the album to ensure that the death/thrash aspects are not compromised.