Release DetailsLABEL Razorback
RELEASED ON 12/7/2004
Night of the Zombie Party
posted on 2/2005 By:
I know little about Japan’s Zombie Ritual except for the biography from their official site, and what I read alarms me. I am not sure what is truth and what is fabrication, but apparently the members were raised from the dead with forbidden alchemy, and the percussionist is “a zombie who could play drums intensely”. The band began to rehearse in caves full of the stench of death and as the biography notes, “the songs were about death and alcohol exclusively, because the members are dead and totally drunk”. This fact is clear from Zombie Ritual's latest release, Night of the Zombie Party - every song title includes the word “zombie,” and some of the most notable track titles are “Zombie Metal War” and “Zom-beer”, the latter being a combination of the band’s two interests. While the imagery and aesthetic of this release seem to suggest goregrind, the music resembles at times the classic Swedish death metal sound of acts like Grave and Dismember.
Night of the Zombie Party is an amalgam of different heavy styles. As noted, there is a Swedish influence, but Zombie Ritual also draws inspiration from thrash and early crossover such as DRI. In addition, the crust punk sound surfaces on offerings like “Zombie Drive”, and the band even references doom metal with the slow, plodding intros to the tracks “Zombies Devour You Alive” and “Zombie Axe Massacre”. The name Zombie Ritual is, of course, taken from a cut on Death’s classic first release, Scream Bloody Gore. Zombie Ritual have something in common with early Death; they play simple and fast music, but under the surface exists a solid musical foundation. Well-structured guitar solos appear here and there, and juxtapose melodic sensibility with extreme brutality. The beginning of “Die Zombies, Die” is strongly reminiscent of the middle eastern-sounding intro on the Death song that the band take their name from, and furthermore, Zombie Ritual employ a two-vocalist attack, much like Carcass, another band which juggled melody with grinding mayhem.
The production on Night of the Zombie Party is almost exactly the same as that of Grave’s work, with a very heavy and blunt guitar tone. I’m sure that many enjoy this style, but I personally do not find it to my liking, and I feel that it detracts from the overall force of the album. One’s feelings about production are almost always subjective, and that is especially true here. As noted, although the music is relatively simple on the whole, the guitar solos are technical and well thought out, and there is even a moment of straight shred on “Die Zombies, Die”. Because of this, I would say that the musicianship is above average. On the songwriting front, the band manages to avoid falling into a formula, and though the songs all sound connected, they are varied enough to keep the listener interested. The current trend in metal, especially in grind, seems to be the avoidance of choruses, but Zombie Ritual embrace repeating parts, and according to their bio, “vomiting chorus of all members sounds strong and cruel”. I would be inclined to agree. This is not a perfect album, but it is very enjoyable, and the fact that every title involves the word “zombie” pretty much makes it a must-own.
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