Exposé Online banner

Ritual — The Hemulic Voluntary Band
(Tempus Fugit SPV 79562, 2007, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2008-01-01

The Hemulic Voluntary Band Cover art

Is this some long lost Gentle Giant album that I’m hearing? Just insert Patrik Lundström into Derek Shulman’s shoes and you get an idea of the sound bursting from the title track that kicks off Ritual’s new effort. All of Gentle Giant’s classic trademark sounds are here: syncopated and melodically eccentric clavinet, electric guitar counterpoint, a muscular rhythm section, plus robust vocal harmonies. The band revisits this style again and again on this collection and I’m a bit unsure what purpose it serves. Songs like “In the Wild” that revisit what made Ritual so exciting on its previous three albums sit better with me. Here Lundström’s vocal soars over an arrangement that easily balances muscle with instrumental prowess, like Yes and Rush without overtly aping them. Ritual have professed a fondness for author Tove Jansson’s creations, the moomins, who’ve appeared on past albums. A chunk of this collection is given over to a song cycle relating an Alice in Wonderland-like tale involving the moomins. It’s an engaging musical journey, though perhaps lacking the potent melodicism and immediacy of past efforts. This may be a case of the band biting off more than they can chew, though I’m glad to see them taking chances and stretching out. Fans of Ritual’s pastoral side aren’t neglected, the song “Late in November” and the epic length “A Dangerous Journey” delving deeply into the realm of recorder, acoustic guitar, and nyckelharpa. Kudos to Ritual for ambition on this release, though artistic success will take longer to judge.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 35, 2007 releases

Related artist(s): Ritual

Latest news

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more

2020-06-14
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more

2020-05-15
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more

2020-05-14
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Djam Karet - No Commercial Potential... and Still Getting the Ladies – In some respects, Djam Karet can be viewed as a band with a split personality. Sometimes they are a tightly rehearsed unit performing composed music; sometimes they are purveyors of ambient...  (2005) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues