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REVIEW - A Ritual Spirit - 'Elements I' (Mini-Album)

Sitting at the juncture where rock, metal and grunge meet, Edinburgh's A Ritual Spirit release their third studio effort, 'Elements I', another slice of well produced, expertly played alternative rock that builds on 2013's 'Carnival Carnivorous' album and 2019's 'The Antidote' EP. Taking their cues from the likes of Alice In Chains and Alter Bridge, the six tracks that make up 'Elements I' feature ear-slicing riffage (courtesy of Oli Bowker and Fuzz MacIntosh), forceful bass work (Martin Gray) and dynamic drumming (Dave Cumming), components that fit together to produce a hard-rocking set full of interesting twists and turns.

Kicking off with 'Zion's deceptively gentle opening chords, the song soon builds into a piece with rip-roaring riffing overlaying a hooky tune undercut by some brutal drumming. It's a fine way to launch the record and paves the way for the drum intro leading into the eastern-influenced guitars of 'Underneath', with its slower, menacing verses giving way to bone-crunching choruses. Single 'Free The Fallen' is a melodic gem with double-tracked guitars and (another of the band's strengths) double-tracked vocals to the fore with quieter interludes giving the song a touch of tranquillity in places. The twisting, bruising riffs of 'Fever Dream' follow on another quality song, while 'Slow The River' allows the rhythm section of Gray and Cumming to shine on an atmospheric tune. This then leaves album closer 'Rodent', which wends its way across a number of stylistic terrains in its six minutes, showing the band's ability to change tempos and the feel of a song in a heartbeat.

'Elements I' is an accomplished record full of great playing, excellent harmonies and stomping tunes. The band's mix of metal, rock and alternative tropes should appeal to a wide range of rock fans and this release should do them no harm in picking up new fans. As the title suggests, 'Elements I' is the first part of a duo of releases; we look forward to hearing the next instalment on 'Elements II'.

There are a number of limited edition CD versions of 'Elements I' available from the A Ritual Spirit bandcamp page - 'Elements I' will be released across all digital platforms on Friday May 13 2022.

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