Ritual Rising

A Review of Swamp Ritual's Ritual Rising

Phillip Griffin

You'll want to hear Swamp Ritual just for the bass sounds. The stoner doom metal outfit boasts "duel bass stacks, giant toms, and excessive use of overdrive." And boast they should. Swamp Ritual's unique setup in terms of personnel and equipment helps make their music some of the most interesting and fun around. The massive bass rig makes for a great show all on its own.

Ritual Rising, Swamp Ritual's first release, came out in 2015. This review is a bit late on the uptake, then. Well fuck you, I'm excited that there's this quality stoner doom metal coming out of Montana so I'm gonna write about it. The album consists of six tracks and clocks in at around 40 minutes, giving the dudes plenty of time to thump their stoney jams and explore some nice textural territory, with drummer Sid LaTray holding it down as bassist Dustin Fugere milks that feedback for all it's worth.

I probably like the opener and closer tracks on this album best. The eponymously named former starts out with a rather pretty bass line and makes its way into a swirling fuzzfest of variations on that theme, Fugere's growling bass reflecting the dragon's roar he sings about. The latter track, "Tesseract," has a similar structure, with a quiet and melodic opening and the eventual degeneration into a thing wrought in the very pits of hell. But I also really like "The Outer Rim/Cosmonaut," the end of which takes us pretty far out on some bass noise that gives me a happy reminder of Moby-Dick.

All in all this is a solid album, especially as a first release, and it does a nice job weaving together straight-ahead Sabbath rock and dirgey sludge. These guys cover some good ground in their groove and sprawl, and hold their own in a ten-minute slow cooker, which is not something most folks can claim. Look no further than Swamp Ritual if you want some psychy low-n-slow metal jamz, and def catch Swamp Ritual live when you can, if only for the bass stacks, which will shake your chest. I hear the band has another recording in the works, and I look forward to it.