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Review: Ritual - Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings

Label: Shadow Kingdom Records
Year released: 2008
Originally released in: 1993
Duration: 57:20
Tracks: 12
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: October 8, 2008
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4/5 (80%) (10 Votes)

Second Ritual album reissued by Shadow Kingdom Records, Valley of the Kings originally came out in 1993, ten years after Widow.  Based on the year alone, one could have expected a different sound, especially with all the shake ups in the world of heavy music at the time.  But overall Valley of the Kings sticks to the same general formula, musically speaking.  The major differences I found are that it's more refined, the musicians obviously having gained experience in both playing ability and songwriting, and it's also a little more melodic, and showcases a few epic touches here and there - not all that surprising if you just look at the album's title.  There are a couple of songs that were also on Widow, such as "Burning", "Morning Star" and as a reissue bonus track, "Come to the Ritual" (curiously not stuck at the end, like the other bonus track "Children of the Night".)

Once again the singer is one of the highlights here, with his very clean and melodic, yet powerful vocal style - he sounds even better this time around.  Beside the occasional epic atmosphere paired with a subtle hint of Middle Eastern sounds, Ritual stay in familiar territory with a very melodic musical approach that may be too mellow for some, throwing in a few acoustic passages. "Possessed" has a very Black Sabbath-inspired constant beat, which sounds as if it was lifted off "Paranoid" and toned down - very cool.  Most songs are mid-paced with a galloping style, sometimes sounding like a light version of Maiden.  In short, no real surprises on this album.  Personally I find it difficult to pick a favourite between Widow and this one - they're different but similar enough that most, if not all songs could be moved between the two albums.  It's simple: If you like one album, you'll like the other.

More about Ritual...
Review: Widow (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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