(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
The modern heavy metal entity that is Kill Ritual are gearing up for one hell of a summer it would seem. For starters, the band was recently announced as direct support for the upcoming Raven / Hirax European tour 2017.
Such a highly sought after, and immensely desired, slot on such a killer tour is the envy of countless metal bands, to be sure. As if that alone weren’t enough, Kill Ritual recently wrapped up the recording of their fourth full-length studio album, ‘All Men Shall Fall‘.
While there are still some final details about the record to be made public, I’ve had an advance copy of it for a couple of weeks now. In fact, I have come here to share my take on said album with you, in conjunction with another Kill Ritual related item. That would be my recent interview with vocalist David Reed Watson and guitarist/founder Steven Rice which you can read here (another site I contribute to).
If you know anything about Kill Ritual, it is the fact that, simply put, they are a no holds barred heavy metal band. Call them thrash, progressive, melodic this or ____ metal that, whatever. What it all boils down to is powerfully intense music that is laden with emotion, both aurally and vocally. The music itself ripples with energy and an emotive transference is relayed in its every moment of playing time. Same for the vocals, the diversity and range of levels explored in them maintains an iron grip on your attention from start to finish.
The recording line up for All Men Shall Fall consisted of multi-instrumentalist Steven Rice, singer David Reed Watson and returning drummer Matt Thompson of King Diamond. After a brief introductory piece, ‘Tales Of Woe‘, this enthralling ride launches with the furious ‘This Addiction‘. A dizzying pace of fiery guitars and locomotive-like rhythms power the song forward, as Watson’s vocals soar above the din. The real-life lyrical content weaves an every-man tale that we can all apply to someone in our lives, perhaps even ourselves.
Things quickly launch into the title track ‘All Men Shall Fall‘, as Rice peppers the song with bursts of razor-sharp guitar work. Drums pulsate with varying tempos as the track chugs along nicely for its duration. You barely have time to catch your breath before one of the record’s most outstanding songs arrives, the fantastic ‘Megalomaniac‘. The chorus alone on this thing is pure sonic gold and one where David merely hints at what he can do vocally.
Mid-way through the record the band explores a variety of differing musical styles, such as the doom-ish nuances of ‘Save Yourself‘. It may just be me, but the song evoked reminiscing comparisons to several Tony Martin era Black Sabbath LPs for me, personally. Powerful melodic segments and well-arranged structuring permeates other killer tracks like the back to back ‘A ReImagining‘ and ‘Dead Man On The Water‘. The latter a grandiose epic that surely reveals what multifaceted musical realms lay within the grasp of Kill Ritual.
Remaining tracks ‘Heart Collector‘, ‘Sin‘, ‘Lies‘ and ‘Kage‘ continue the metallic rollercoaster ride of stellar sonics. ‘Sin‘ is a darker-toned foray into incredible, incendiary guitars and another album stand-out. ‘Lies‘ channels a very evident progressive vibe in its content, not unlike the style of metal Nevermore once played. The album closing ‘Kage‘ is a deep, touching display also, both powerful and beautifully melodic. It ends the album on a very effecting, viscerally introspective song that David reveals as being inspired by his fiancée, Taylor (see our interview).
As I said earlier on, Kill Ritual‘s newest offering, ‘All Men Shall Fall‘, is all about emotion, strength and empowerment. Be it in Steven’s blistering, wide spectrum of guitar feats, Thompson’s groove-fueled, solid drumming, or Watson’s consistent outpouring of soul-searing vocals.
Seriously, do not miss this album when released for if you do, I dare say your metal credentials need to be revoked. This is assuredly what heavy metal -circa 2017- is all about, my friends.