|Review: Ritual Steel - V|
Label: Pure Steel Records
Year released: 2019
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: March 5, 2020
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Ritual Steel is closing in on 20 years since first forming and you would think after that much time, they'd have a solid grip on this metal thing, but it sure doesn't sound that way. V is their fifth album of traditional heavy metal and it is not very good. There's energy but a muted production does its best to suck as much of it away as possible. The riffs aren't bad, just bland and generic and they're even a fraction of a second off the beat on "Jackyl & Hyde". This is already the worst song on the album based on the vocals (more on that shortly) and the delayed playing is the final nail in the coffin. Singer John Cason doesn't have a bad voice, he lacks charisma for sure, but listening to him try to cajole, cram or downright force the words into these songs is unbearable. The lyrics are unimaginative, but the real problem is the vocal lines sound as if they were written for completely different songs. They have no synergy with the melodies in most places, leaving Cason on an island by himself while the rest of the musicians head to sunnier climes. He's often stuck with a word (or several) that he has to find some way of hanging on the end of a line long after the original measure is over.
I think Ritual Steel set out to make V an album in the vein of Omen's Battle Cry or Attacker's Battle at Helm's Deep, solid, fist-pumping US metal but something went seriously wrong along the way.
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