It is quite an achievement to get the attention of Kerrang! Radio host Alex Baker with just your debut EP. But that is exactly what happened with RITUALS when they released Awake. Now the four-piece from Newcastle, who have also gained support from various other corners of the UK press, return with their sophomore EP Show Me The Signs.
The three-song EP starts off with its title track. The song lures the audience in with a gentle introduction before exploding into a high-energy rock song. It is clear that the band are in love with what they do. Whilst their style of indie rock music might not be very original, it doesn’t matter. RITUALS are clear in what they want their sound to be. Oceans Subside follows and makes for a complete 180 degree turn from the previous song, which is a very good surprise. It is a metalcore song through and through, with fantastic unclean vocals. This is such a turnaround, and yet it works. It not only shows that the band can go in a different direction and completely dominate it, but also that you should never judge a band by their first song.
In Devastation is the closing song on the record. If anything, it improves upon the second song by going even heavier. It is clever how each song gets heavier and heavier, therefore surprising audiences more and more. In fact, all these genre changes would be a headache for any other band who are just starting out. But not for RITUALS; this band have nailed the very rare task of making their sophomore release as good as their first release. It is clear that they have ripped up the rulebook and have decided to wave their own flag.
If anything, the only issue about the EP is that it ends just as it’s getting interesting. At only three songs, this is understandable. However, it does also make you excited: if this is how good RITUALS are on an EP, what will they be like on an album? Of course, EPs are always short. However, you wish that it was just a couple of songs longer. This is not because it sounds rushed or unfinished, because it doesn’t. But it could benefit from one more song, just as an extra to show what this band are capable of.
In conclusion, RITUALS have produced one of the most surprising EPs of the year. They have a clear direction for what they want their sound to be like, and it sounds brilliant. They can cover all different genres, and the EP itself sounds perfectly polished. In fact, the only issue is that it is too short because it is only three songs long. It wouldn’t have hurt to put one more song on. However, you also have the feeling that RITUALS are keeping their cards close to their chest for now. But with an EP like this, who is complaining? RITUALS are masters in subverting expectations. Long may it continue.
Show Me The Signs is set for release on September 2nd via Royal Artists.
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