Kill Ritual are a new name for me. They are a metal band from San Francisco (and Vegas) formed back in 2010 by ex-members of Imagika, Dark Angel and Eldritch with only Steven Rice from Imagika being present today.
All Men Shall Fall is their fourth album to date and has a mix of thrash, power and some speed metal along with hints of prog metal. I certainly heard bits that reminded me of bands as diverse as Anthrax, Alice In Chains, Nevermore, Queensryche along with Badlands (and by that also Led Zeppelin). There is some fine guitar work on show with quality solos on several songs. There is nothing new as such on the album, but despite that, it is actually rather good.
The best songs tend to be the more atmospheric, classic sounding ones where they allow a mix of melodic and heavy. Tracks such as “A Re-Imagining” which has an acoustic opening which after 30 seconds or so repeats itself in heavier electric version. The chorus of “free yourself” is strong and anthemic.
“Dead Man On The Water” also has a gentle opener which made me think of a couple of songs from the first Badlands album. The first minute and a half are engaging, pulling you in nice and slow before kicking into a doomy foreboding piece. Possibly my favorite song from the album.
There are as I wrote earlier heavier tracks that have elements of thrash and this is definitely true on “This Addiction” which is speedy and smacks of early Anthrax in sections. Or at least not in the bit which has a Nevermore sound especially on the vocals of David Reed Watson. The way he floats on this between the two styles is impressive. The soloing on this at the end is fast and furious but still melodic.
“Save Yourself” has a chunky opening underpinned by guitar soloing and leads us into a Nevermore early Queensryche type thing. Slower for most of the first half but speeding up and at one point having an Alice In Chains (Facelift) going on. This again is a very good track that grows on repeated listens.
The album finishes on a ballad which vocally has a touch of David Coverdale about it at times. It is always difficult to work out where a ballad should go on an album which is predominantly metal. “Kage” has that emotional power to work as a last song. The orchestral or choir effect as the song takes hold and then fades does have a sense of conclusion about it. I do not think personally it could be better placed. Leaving a fine ending to the album.
An album of 11 tracks including the prelude type start (“Tales Of Woe”) which is only a minute or so long which I enjoyed most of. The straight-ahead more metal songs did pass me by a little but the rest I was happy to play several times in a few days.
Well worth checking out if you like any of the bands mentioned in the review!
Photo of Steven Rice courtesy of his personal Facebook page