Monday, February 24, 2014

Kill Ritual-The Eyes Of Medusa

GoldenCore Records/ZYX Music

Having formed in October of 2010, with a full-length debut album entitled "The Serpentine Ritual" dropping two years later, California's thrash n' rollers (more on that in a second!) Kill Ritual have a Spring date in mind for album number two. Mixed and mastered by Steven Rice & Andy LaRocque (King Diamond), "Eyes Of Medusa", a fifty one minute or so affair with ten jam-packed crunchers(!), was produced by the band's own guitarist (that Steve Rice fellow again!) and showcases exactly want can be accomplished when you bring together veteran musicians with one singular goal in mind! Besides lead guitarist Steve Rice (ex-Imagika) Kill Ritual features ex-Dark Angel bassist Danyael "Laughing" Bear and drummer Gee Anzalone (Brain Damage). As for the lead vocalist spot? That's taken care of by one Josh "Crimson" Gibson. With no other bands listed to his credit (at least going by what's listed on the Metal Archives) maybe this guy just appeared out of time and space when Kill Ritual was in need of just the right front-man. Seems legit right? But, what about his voice? Vocals, in regards to heavy metal/thrash outfits like this act (mostly) is, are usually gruff and/or rough around the edges. Here though Kill Ritual is lead by a vocalist who sounds like he should have/could have been fronting some hard-edged sleaze act of does long past (maybe Guns N' Roses?) or even one of the thousands of 80's metal/U.S. metal bands that made the late eighties/early nineties such a cool time to be a metal fanatic! While opening number "The Eyes Of Medusa" only hints at what this Bay Area-native is capable of all bets are off once "Hair Trigger" kicks in! Hard rock thrash? Is that a new thing? The way Kill Ritual pulls it off it sure as hell seems like it! Almost sleazy, like the aforementioned Guns N' Roses or even Ratt/Skid Row, the cut takes pristine thrash and makes it over by way of eighties hard rock. No worries though. Said track, along with track number three ("Never Get Me") and track number four "Ride Into The Night", draws from some serious metal sources (Metallica, Exodus, Dark Angel, Heathen and Death Angel) even if the songs retain rock-like structures! What works on album number two for Kill Ritual is the band's ability to craft catchy and hard-driving material (some of which borders on spend metal!) full of melody that falls into this wonderful grey area where hard rock, heavy metal, thrash and speed metal all exist in peaceful coexistence. From the guitars of Steve Rice (seemingly drawing his style from Slash as much as Dave Mustaine-check out "Hair Trigger", "Weight Of The World" and "Writing On The Wall"!) to Crimson's Axl Rose-infused voice this band just clicks! New drummer Gee Anzalone (who replaced co- founder and ex-Imagika member Wayne de Vecchi) provides just the right touch and together with bassist Danyael "Laughing" Bear they keep everything in check from "The Eyes Of Medusa" all the way to (doom power metal by way of Pantera and Megadeth) "Agenda 21". Any band that can conjure up images of everyone from Megadeth to Pantera and even acts as (weirdly) diverse as King Diamond and Ugly Kid Joe are more then OK in my book! So, that begs the question then as to what doesn't work about Kill Ritual's sophomore recording. The only red flag would have to be that a few of the rock riffs come across as recycled, but it's not blatantly obvious and besides, Kill Ritual are only recycling riffs from themselves and nobody else! So it's more like "Hey, didn't I hear something similar to that bit on track x, y or z" then "Hey, didn't I hear something similar to that bit from band x, y or z"! And even then it's hard to get all worked up about it considering how much fun an album like this is to listen to! Definitely different then most of the new heavy metal and thrash acts coming down the pipeline theses days, Kill Ritual offer up new tricks for listeners searching for new sounds. If that sounds like something that you've been looking for then be sure to keep an ear out for "The Eyes Of Medusa"!

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