THE PRESS RELEASE: “Inspired by a wide array of styles and instruments, Ritual Dictates has straightforward elements of metal and grind, with insane detours into everything from black metal to good time rock and roll. Picking up on inspiration from their respective previous bands Allfather and Angel Grinder, ex-3 Inches of Blood members Justin Hagberg and Ash Pearson (Revocation) are continuing down the heavy metal path while fusing their eclectic influences of black, grind, death metal and classic rock into exciting new territories. Mixed by Jesse Gander (Bison, Anciients, Japandroids) and mastered by Jason Corbett (ACTORS), the debut album Give in to Despair sees Mr. Hagberg and Mr. Pearson produce a savage onslaught of uncompromising heaviness. Guest musicians include Danko Jones, Shawn Haché (Mitochondrion, Auroch, Night Profound), and Shane Clark (Bison, 3 Inches of Blood)!”
MY TWO CENTS: Brains or brain. Power or precision. Mirth or menace. Most metal bands can handle one or the other. But lunatic Vancouver duo Ritual Dictates are the rare exception that can deliver them all — with head-spinning speed, mind-crushing intensity and brain-cramping complexity to boot. Their tracks sit proudly and loudly in the middle of a Venn diagram surrounded by umpteen brands of metal and hard rock. Their musical chops and compositional skills are off the charts. And their duelling vocals sound like an endless argument between a shrieking devil being burned alive and a sulphurous demon growling from the deepest pit of hell. Gaze upon their works and despair, puny humans. I give. So should you — if you know what’s good for you.