HOUR OF 13 (The Ritualist) LP/CD

After the release of the debut, things didn't go so well for band founder Chad Davis. First, there were problems with his old label Shadow Kingdom Records, so that both went their seperate ways. Later, vocalist Phil Swanson (Seamount, Upwards Of Endtime, Vestal Claret) left HOUR OF 13 and Chad Davis collaborated with another singer, whose name I have regrettably forgotten. Meanwhile, however, the situation has changed for the better, because Phil Swanson is back and the band has been signed by NSP/Eyes Like Snow. 'The Ritualist' is their second record and I am quite sure that this is one of the first highlights in 2010. Generally speaking, the new album continues seamlessly from the self-titled debut. The musical basis is still a tasteful blend of doom metal, 1970's hardrock and elements from the NWOBHM. This time Chad Davis plays all instruments (last time a second guitarist named Corey Leonard supported HOUR OF 13) while Phil Swanson is again responsible for the outstanding singing and all lyrics.

Again, they deal with issues of occultism, satanism and everything in between so that the whole album has a serious ritual character. One of HOUR OF 13's strengths is their ability to write extremely catchy tunes as, for example, 'Demons All Around Me' or 'The Crawlspace'. Furthermore the band never fail to impress with sudden changes of pace. Due to this 'The Ritualist' is very dynamic over the whole playing time of almost 49 minutes and HOUR OF 13 creates an incredible atmosphere. Every song on here is utterly haunting and the band has no need to use samples or anything else to achieve that result. If I had to figure out a difference to the debut, than it could be the production that sounds smoother but even after a lot of runs I'm not really sure. However, I am sure that you'll like 'The Ritualist', especially if you love the first record. All I can do is repeat that I still feel there is something truly unique and special about HOUR OF 13. Well, I think that just about covers it.