If you’re looking for England’s answer to Elder, look no further. Manchester trio Ritual King offer a similar mixture of stoner, psych and prog on their seven-track, self-titled, Ripple Music debut.
“Valleys” kicks things off with a dreamy, heavy psych intro, a swirling riff over some mellow, plodding percussion, which soon kicks into a head-nodding, mid-paced groove, with soaring vocal melodies flying overhead. From there, the song shifts to a more uptempo, krautrock feel, ahead of a powerful, bluesy shred solo. This dude freakin’ rips on guitar!
“No Compromise” has a very jazzy intro, before a heavy, melodic riff comes in, reminding me of the likes of Calgary’s Woodhawk. Only that wasn’t just an intro – the same guitar interlude reappears between verses. Another absolutely righteous guitar solo on this tune, too! “Headspace” displays a similar brightness, with warm-sounding grooves, while the instrumental “602” melds driving stoner rock with more progressive noodling.
“Dead Road” combines a lumbering, Cisneros-style bassline with some straight-up blues guitar licks, leading into a mellow verse that reminds me of the soaring southern rock of Freedom Hawk or King Giant. “Restrain” is a nice exercise in contrasts between soft and heavy, while “Black Hills” ends things on an anthemic note – not exactly a power ballad, but more stirring than crushing.