There was a sense of excitement in Krista’s eyes as she handed over Goodnight Ritual’s “Galore” album. Krista is the queen of PR over at Tinderbox Music and we have formed a friendship over the past couple of months. She always has interesting and amazing music for me to check out. Always warning me that it might not be my thing or that it may be completely up my alley, there was a smile the crept across her face as she handed this one over. That excitement got me excited and although it took me a couple of weeks to finally find the time to review this album, I couldn’t help but get a cheesy smile on my face as I slid the CD into my stereo and hit play.

The album kicks off with “Sidewon” which is just forty seconds of a bell chiming and some doodling on the guitar with vocals hidden in the background. The album instantly started skipping. Worried that something was wrong with my ancient stereo, I got up to look but this skipping was in fact part of the song. Confused but intrigued, the intro flowed perfectly into “All My Arms” and I instantly understood Krista’s excitement about this album. Blasting me with chugging guitars and an almost sinister vibe in the vocals, I knew I was about to take a hell of a trip with this album and I was all buckled in and ready to go.

“Trio” kicks off with some sweeping guitar parts accompanied by heavy hitting drums. The vocals that come in don’t quite match the intensity of the instrumentation but it works in the most perfect way. Think a calmed down Volbeat vocal style without the annoying factor, vocalist Dennis Asher has a very distinct sound that seems to tow the line between radio rock and heavy rock. That interesting mix along with the dark and mysterious lyrics had this album moving quick and before I knew it I was onto song four, “Cuz I Gotchu”.

“Cuz I Gotchu” starts off in an extremely interesting way. With the drums falling out and just a catchy little diddy on the guitar, this song was instantly a favorite of mine. The style of this band seems to completely switch on this song but in the most brilliant way. Staying distinctively Goodnight Ritual, this song has a little pep in it’s step leaving an infectious guitar and bass line ringing your head long after you listen to this song for the first time. The vocals are distorted to the most perfect point. It’s not too much where it sounds mechanical but distorted just enough to add to this song’s unique sound.

A sense of dissonance takes over as the album moves into “Across the Fields”. An almost creepy vibe at first with whispered lyrics being sung over the dissonant chords, “Across The Fields” stands out as different than the rest of the fourteen songs on this album while still staying so obviously Goodnight Ritual’s song. Again, I would attribute majority of that to Dennis’ vocal style but you also start seeing repeating patterns in the instrumentation by the time this song comes along.

“Anything At All” slows things down. An almost ballad like song, “Anything At All” focuses on Dennis’ truly talented voice. Hearing the way he can go from rocking almost metal like vocals to the beauty that is in this one is impressive to say the least. The same thing can be said about all of the other band members. There’s a new sense of tenderness that comes through in this song but don’t let that fool you into thinking the energy drops because it definitely does. By the time the chorus kicks in, the sound of a cymbal keeps the tempo feeling upbeat and keeps the song moving until it fades into “Side Two”. “Side Two” which is another forty-two seconds of ambient noise. Kind of come out of left field, it somehow fits perfectly and blends into “Lungs” in a beautiful way.

“Lungs” seems to take this idea of calm and tenderness and catapult it onto a whole new level. The heavy guitar riffs are replaced by a beautiful acoustic guitar line of notes that seems to string along as easily as the vocals over it. This fifty four second track could have lasted for minutes and I wouldn’t have a single complaint about it. The calmness doesn’t last and before you know the vibe switches for “International”. Not as heavy as some of the previous songs, “International” brings yet another completely different vibe to the album. A bit more southern rock with an almost country vibe, there is something very anthemic about this song. It had me nodding my head along to the infectious beat in no time.

The heaviness is brought back in for “Peace Let Me In”. The slower tempo of this song and almost sludgey vibe to it made it the perfect song to follow “International”. Although a completely different sound, the way the two songs connect is undeniable . Just when you thought the album was going to get back into that almost hard rock vibe that was presented in the beginning, Goodnight Ritual jumps into “The Door” which slows things down again… at least for the beginning. The passion is alive and well in “The Door” and after a soft and sweet intro, you are re-introduced the hard-rocking sound from the beginning of the album while incorporating the sense of tenderness that was introduced in “Anything At All”.

With the album winding down, I thought I had heard everything Goodnight Ritual had to offer but then I was introduced to a new bluesy vibe in “Blinker”. Dramatic and moments of almost spoken word-like lyrics, although the third to last song on this fourteen song album, there were still new things to be heard from this band and I absolutely love that.

Expecting the album to end with power and a sense of loudness, I was surprised as “Sludge” started to play. Honestly, with that song name I shouldn’t have been too surprised. It definitely described the song in a perfect way. Sludgey instrumentation but with vocals that are clean and precise, this song may have been a bit of a surprise but it was  good kind of surprise.

Closing out the album is “Because”. Slow and steady, this song is the perfect ending to a journey that was full of it’s ups and downs. The tempo drops and the lyrics turn from deep to heart-wrenching. As mentioned, I was really hoping that this album would end in the same way that it started but there was something genius about putting this slower song at the end. It was surprising and doesn’t follow the typical way an album flows but that says everything about Goodnight Ritual that needs to be said. They are one of those bands that doesn’t do everything the way it should be done and, because of that, they stand out in the best possible way.

There was a reason Krista had a smile on her face when handing over this album and after listening to it a couple of times, it all makes sense.

My Favorite Track(s): “Cuz I Gotchu”; “International”

Chances Of Getting A Noise Complaint While Listening To In An Apartment: 8.7 out of 10

Dance-ability: 7.2 out of 10

What My Cats Thought Of It: Artemis laid by the kitchen; Autumn hid in my room

How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 8 out of 10

My Overall Rating: 4.21 out of 5

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