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Unearthing the Metal Underground: Vancouver's Ritual Dictates

Vancouver’s formidable duo that operates under the moniker that is Ritual Dictates has technically been in existence since 2014. However aside from their debut album “Give In To Despair” that was released in 2020, they haven’t left much of a trace at all. But that album was one hell of a release, undoubtably unique and adventurous, to say the lease. They seem to have hit their stride now, though, as they’re poised to release their sophomore album, “No Great Loss,” on October 7 through Artoffact Records.

Ritual Dictates is comprised of ex-3 Inches of Blood members Justin Hagberg and Ash Pearson, the latter of whom is also the drummer of both Revocation and the Strapping Young Lad side project Zimmers Hole. The band’s impressive pedigree is suggestive of the driving death thrash that’s at had, though aspects like that or the aggressive, cold black metal that’s evident are merely a few pieces of the puzzle in addition to punk and upbeat rock. “No Great Loss” finds the unit expanding its template to include gothic and more melodious flavors. A pulsing bass line, uplifting keyboards and soaring melodic vocals define the bulk of “Burn the Widow,” though the song seamlessly transitions toward more pummeling and scathing black thrash toward the end. “Aqua Tofana,” meanwhile, encompasses an eighties pop sensibility, marked by throw-back keyboards and the pairing of male and female melodic vocals, that’s nestled within the band’s fundamental guitar crunch.

Whether or not Ritual Dictates will reach greater heights in terms of commercial success, the potential is there. In any event, “No Great Loss” is a powerful, heavy album that is worthy of attention.

JayHGorania's avatar

Jay H. Gorania is a long time metal journalist and sings for Trench Warfare. He also writes for Blabbermouth and Hellbound.ca and has in the past edited for Pit and written for Metal Maniacs, Unrestrained!, Hails and Horns, AMP and Outburn as well as other media outlets.

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