Ritual King – Elixir
Grungy blues trio's coming of age
Words: Phil Weller
Rome wasn’t built in a day. An empire that at its zenith stood as one of the most impressive and imperial, ruling over 20% of the world’s population, was once small and unassuming. In the years since Renegade & Retrospect first put out music a lot has changed and their empire has benefited from their growing experience, stature and professionalism. Ritual King, as they are now known, - a change and rebirth we chartered in this revealing interview - represents a band ready to grip the nation’s rock scene by the balls. The songs may not be particularly new – anyone who’s seen the band on the live circuit over the past few years will recognise most of these bouncy blues rock numbers – but here they have been given a new lease of life. Refreshed and revitalised, the Elixir EP sounds vital, as good as any record of this ilk you will hear in a long while.
A shadow has cast over their sound of late, giving everything a darker composition, a more menacing edge. Each track, from the Mr Brownstone esque hip swinging of Devil’s Chokehold to Unorthodox Satisfaction, which forages through the worlds of stoner and 70s hard rock has been slaved over. The result is a masterful sounding record that can and will stand toe to toe with anything that dares cross its path.
Elixir marks their territory and does so in style, with much of their now deadly, venomous swagger crafted with Castle Rock Sudio’s Alex Miller at the helm. The guitars sound thick, wholesome and pure, the rhythmic section as staunch as they come and as a result the songs are able to breath and flow reverently. Bands like Kadavar, Blues Pills, Graveyard and Scorpion Child are finding huge success with similar formulas at the moment and, spurned by the incendiary performances on show here, it would be no surprise to see Ritual King replicate their respective rises.
Their blend of gritty, nasty but groove laden and boogieing songs are reminiscent in many ways of Appetite For Destruction era GNR. Add in smoky stoner rock characteristics and a modernistic pomp and Elixir becomes a wholly thrilling record. Unorthodox Satisfaction is a hellraising, towering track with an infectious chorus – a crowning moment for vocalist Jordan Leppitt on a record where he has become a truly excellent vocalist. Like ISD, it is a song peppered with hedonistic acoustic guitars that give their sound broader horizons; an admirable attention to detail. Detachment is an explorative blues rock piece, each new section unravelling with a veteran gripping memorability that bands three times their age may very well be envious of. Too Fast meanwhile flouts Leppitt’s wild slide guitar playing and rounds off a record that leaves no stones unturned.
This EP may have been a long time in the making, but as every second dances by, beer in hand, the wait is completely and utterly justified. Just listen and hear a band’s coming of age. Ritual King are a force to be reckoned with.