This past week saw the re-release of the Elixir EP from UK heavy blues trio Ritual King, an encounter well worth checking out if it did not hit the radar first time around. Offering five highly infectious and richly flavoursome tracks which feel familiar without revealing why as they provide a fresh and imaginative adventure, the EP is a good time just waiting to be had.
The seeds of Ritual King began when in 2013 drummer Rodge Hodges met guitarist Jordan Leppitt at Bolton University. Inviting bassist Dan Goodwin to join them, the threesome emerged as Renegade & Retrospect, subsequently recording and releasing a debut EP. With a live presence equally making a potent impression to that bred by the record, they set about writing and recording their second release. Such its obvious step forward from the last, the band decided to change their name; step forward Ritual King.
Elixir opens up with Devil’s Chokehold and immediately confronts ears with bone shuddering beats and wiry grooves. There is no stopping a swift appetite for what is on offer especially as an increasing crowd of guitar exploits leads to an infectious stroll of senses rapping beats, a tenaciously throbbing and catchy bassline, and the equally inviting vocals of Leppitt. There are few surprises within the song yet every minute is a host of blues seeded hooks and swinging rhythms bound in fiery grooves as virulent as the contagion they are part of.
The excellent start continues with ISD. Its initial touch is a melodic kiss, a moment of seduction lined by the darker hues of bass and already biting beats. In no time, the track is boldly sauntering along, its gait an infectious swagger as the potent tones of Leppitt, backed by the rest of the band, add their own anthemic strains to those already fuelling the robust encounter.
Hodge’s rhythmic prowess sets the following Detachment in motion, the track almost enjoyably searching for its purpose over the opening seconds before settling into a stroll which as its predecessor has a strong classic rock air to its lively presence and ear enticing flavouring. Grooves and riffs again unite for an aggressively tenacious but controlled assault, the fiery enterprise of Leppitt’s guitar as rousing as his riffs and Hodge’s muscular swings.
Too Fast is next, guitars sizzling on the senses from its first breath, melodic and blues rock entangling from thereon in as the song reveals an infection loaded personality led by the rhythmic dance and vocal incitement of Hodges and Leppitt respectively. With an unpredictable nature to its somewhat familiar presence, band and song create a magnetic shuffle which leaves ears greedy and enjoyment full while never being too sure of where the track will take them.
The EP closes with the new Ritual King single, Unorthodox Satisfaction. A lone melody romances ears first, its gentle slightly melancholic coaxing strong but deceptive as its breath slips away only to open up the way for one delicious bassline from Goodwin. Throughout the release his grooves bind attention but incite the lustiest reactions here as its bait grips ears and carries them into the waiting, Celtic spiced exploits of band and track. There is a touch of a Horslips to the hooks escaping the infectious swing of the song, a spicing throughout a relentless captivation of ears and imagination. Latin hued guitars and a climactic air only add to the drama of a song which grows in strength and quality with each passing minute.
It is a fine end to a thoroughly enjoyable release which whilst having moments less original than others persistently impresses and shows the potential of a sound brewing into something unique and even bolder.
The Elixir EP is out now across all stores.
Pete RingMaster 06/12/2016
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