Ritual Howls (10 Year Deluxe Edition) LP or CD (2022)
Details: Ritual Howls, self-titled, 10-year deluxe edition features new mixes by Adam Stilson and new masters by Rafael Anton Irisarri (Black Knoll Studio). Released on Cemetery Green color vinyl or CD. The artwork features a reimagining of the original artwork by Chris Samuels (Ritual Howls/Mission to the Sun) plus a 12-page 11" x 11" booklet of photos, lyrics & images from the original recording sessions. CD includes artwork similar to LP along with 4 bonus tracks not found on the original release or vinyl versions. New stock, sealed.
Description: The story of Ritual Howls begins in a southwest Detroit basement in the early winter of 2012. Singer/guitarist Paul Bancell had been writing and performing solo as well as in several bands and was looking for collaborators for a new project. Bassist Ben Saginaw seemed like a natural fit. Acquaintances from Ann Arbor, Michigan where the two grew up, Paul had been a fan of Ben's visual art and had seen him playing around town in the psych-improv outfit Anonymous Touch. A year prior, Paul met Chris Samuels when he filled in on drums for a few rehearsals for the band Paul had been playing in called The Baptist Church. An electronic diamond in the rough, Chris had knowledge of synths and drum machines that Paul rarely found in the rock scene – knowledge that would later translate to his percussion duties in Ritual Howls. The three began jamming in Paul's basement and Ritual Howls was formed.
After a month of writing and playing together, Ritual Howls played their first show at a brick box of a bar in Detroit called Donovan's. Just a few weeks later, the band made the 12-hour drive to play their second show at the celebrated (and since-dissolved) venue Death by Audio.
By the summer of 2012, the band had written what would become Ritual Howls. With the help of a friend (Jeff Navarre), they recorded their first full-length in Ben's art studio using a laptop. Paul tracked vocals at home in his bedroom and, not wanting to relinquish control, mixed and mastered the album himself.
The band burned the album onto CD-Rs and packaged them in hand-sewn jackets. Paul had been spending time in Mexico City and managed to find a couple of shows for the band. With not yet a formal release to their name, the three jumped on a plane to Mexico City. Momentum was building. Upon returning to Detroit, Paul met Eric Love of Urinal Cake records, who would go on to formally release the self-titled album on vinyl in March 2013.
A formidable introduction to the band's haunting, cinematic blend of twangy industrial rock, Ritual Howls established the band as a unique force in the landscape of dark music, both past, and present. Tracks like "Cemetery Guards" and "Hell Fuck" offer glimpses into the band's heavier explorations into noise and metal. But it's the creeping, western jangle of "Keep Those Stones Up Boys" and catchy hooks of the danceable "Rosabelle Believe" that best capture Ritual Howls' enduring sound and offer blueprints for what was yet to come. The band's DNA had been written with Paul's baritone vocals, macabre lyrics, and country-tinged guitar, Ben's fuzzed-out bass riffs, and Chris' industrial electronics – which would come to reference their hometown's claim as the birthplace of techno music more and more through subsequent releases.
Separated by a decade, four LPs, two EPs later, this re-release features new mixes by Adam Stilson, mastering by Rafael Anton Irisarri, and new artwork by Chris Samuels that fully realize the band's DIY beginnings. Ritual Howls is an impressively cohesive first effort and testament to the band's vision that, even in its infancy, forged a distinct sound that has only matured with perfection over time.
Grade: M (new stock)
TRACK LISTING SIDE A:
A1. The Year Of Fear
A2. Cemetery Guards
A3. Keep Those Stones Up
TRACK LISTING SIDE B:
B1. Rosabelle Believe
B3. Hell Fuck
B4. The Mark
B5. Sacred Awe
CD TRACK LISTING:
1. The Year Of Fear
2. Cemetery Guards
3. Keep Those Stones Up
5. Rosabelle Believe
7. Hell Fuck
8. The Mark
9. Sacred Awe
10. Lucy (Bonus Track)
11. The Last Time (Bonus Track)
12. A Thoughtful Beast (Bonus Track)
13. The Scent of Skin (Bonus Track)