Filthy, raw, drug & alcohol obsessed black metal with added Satan & hookers….. sounds fucking great doesn’t it…. and guess what, it is! These Italian animals are coming in your ears with this, their fourth album and the follow up to “Blow with the Devil” (there’s an image) that I reviewed a few years back and if you liked that you’re gonna lap this pile of filth up like nobody’s business. This is some seriously thrashy black & roll.

Formed in 2009, Ritual originally started as a side project between members of groups like Forgotten Tomb and Caronte and they thrive on a simple and raw approach that highlights the duality inherent in the black & roll style.

A bit more “black” than “Blow With The Devil” the opening salvo of “Black Metal Ultras” and “In the Army of Hell” underline the bands black metal credibility and remind me of Carpathian Forest with their punky, melodic vibe. Dorian Bones rasping voice again sounds like classic 2nd wave black metal and he wouldn’t sound out of place on an album like “Deathcrush”.

The rock & roll elements are more profound on tracks like “Knockout” and “Die Hard” with powerful riffs and squealing solos. “666 Problems” and “Death Comes by Limo” are great fun and remind me of say, Kvelertak with their groove infused punkiness.

The songwriting approach is straightforward with basic memorable riffs and enough little swerves to keep you interested and the raw production pushes the guitars up front and it fits the band’s aesthetic to a tee. The album closes with a furious cover version of Turbonegro‘s “Denim Demon” which is super enjoyable.

This album might be a bit too raw for some but it is addictive and a grower,  you can easily tolerate back to back listenings and I suggest you do as it really is worth it.

Great record, well recommended

(8/10 Mark Eve)