Cult Ritual - Cult Ritual [12-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Cult Ritual

Cult Ritual [12-inch] (2009)

Youth Attack

Cult Ritual, a Florida band who only lasted three years, were one badass motherfuckin' band, and their self-titled only album is proof of that. It's a remarkable piece of hardcore punk that rants, howls, and then attacks with indescribable rage, sometimes disappearing into beautiful murk only to resurface and throttle you, gleaming while the album...strangles you. Yeah, great metaphor!

Anyway, it starts off with a strange squelching sound, like a chainsaw against cold metal, over and over again. Then into feedback, then screaming, brilliant hardcore punk. And so it goes for the first side, as the lead singer (there's little information on the band, honestly) proceeds into wild, crazed screaming and yelling, cries of pain and rage like a dying animal. The guitarist, clearly a Greg Ginn fan, lets the feedback into the mix, a key part of his hard guitar sound. The drummer goes fast and slow as the band veers from shimmering guitar to rabid punk rock, sometimes, as in "Saturday's Blood", left alone to play the beat, amping the tension higher and higher.

This is a great album, and like recent hardcore punk bands Ceremony, Fucked Up and Paint It Black, Cult Ritual took hardcore into very strange, startling directions. For anyone who loves punk, particularly Black Flag, Negative Approach and Ceremony, this album is highly recommended for the darker nights of the soul.