Band Info

 
I love an underdog, especially one of the metallic kind. Perhaps you may be asking yourself what do I mean by that exactly? Well, I’m about to tell you and in this case, the underdog story begins back in 2010 when former members of Imagika, Dark Angel, and Eldritch formed Kill Ritual. The band was one that took its traditional Heavy Metal influences and then blended and molded them into a very powerful, modernized machine. The music of Kill Ritual has always been very guitar-oriented and that’s surely due to the presence of axe-slinger Steven Rice. He has been the one singular, constant presence in the band since the very beginning. In 2012 Kill Ritual issued their debut album The Serpentine Ritual (Scarlet Records) to much critical acclaim and positive acceptance. That was followed by the 2014 effort The Eyes Of Medusa (Golden Core/ZYX) which one again garnered the band increased attention and accolades.

In 2015, changes came to the Kill Ritual camp, the inevitable types that usually become most bands at some point or another. So enter vocalist David Reed Watson (Rage Of Angels, Electric Messiah, D.N.A.) who brought his wide spectrum of emotion-infused banshee vocals to the band. Watson and Rice became the heart and soul of Kill Ritual that fueled the phenomenal 2015 album Karma Machine, an album produced by Steve and mixed/mastered by the legendary Andy LaRocque (King Diamond). The album propelled the band’s status further into the metallic community where increased awareness of Kill Ritual‘s awesomeness grew exponentially with all the right people. That brings us up to now, May of 2017 where incredible things are happening with Kill Ritual yet again. First off is they have a new album in the can titled ‘All Man Shall Fall‘, details of it will be forthcoming soon but you can read my review of it now here

The second bit of news, and it is nothing minor or of any small feat itself, is Kill Ritual are preparing to head to Europe for a tour. But this is not just any European tour as the band will be providing direct support to the lethal duo of Raven and Hirax across the Old Country. The trek launches on June 7th and the guys are in need of some financial assistance so they’ve launched a GoFundMe campaign that you can donate to at this location. Joining them on this upcoming tour will be Chris Lotesto from Ion Vein, Jim Pegram from Mudface and Angerhead, and Dave Chedrick from Ruthless and Ed Force One.

Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

 

— For full Reviews and Interviews, click here —

“Kill Ritual‘s newest offering, ‘All Men Shall Fall‘, is all about emotion, strength, and empowerment. Be it in Steven’s blistering, wide spectrum of guitar feats, Thompson’s groove-fueled, solid drumming or Watson’s consistent outpouring of soul-searing vocals. Seriously, do not miss this album when released for if you do, I dare say your metal credentials need to be revoked. This is assuredly what heavy metal circa 2017 is all about, my friends.”

Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Riff Relevant (May 3, 2017)

“Kill Ritual is still going strong, and with All Men Shall Fall, the group goes to show listeners that they are far from being done rocking the world. Already the band is preparing to set out on a summer tour of Europe. When All Men Shall Fall hits stores, you will definitely want to add it to your hard rock and heavy metal collection. Highly recommended!”

– Taylor Carlson, ZRockR Magazine (Mar 29, 2017)

“I could write for days about this album. It’s everything that a great thrash album should be, with heavy guitar riffs that will make your headbanging muscles sore for days, pure rockstar vocals, deep and intricate bass that makes you forget about the lack of a second guitar, and percussive perfection that would put the world’s great drummers to shame. So while Hollywood movies are consistently getting worse, and other wine-producing areas make Napa Valley green with envy, Kill Ritual is the glimmer of hope that the great state of California needs to show the world that it still knows how to do one thing better than everybody else; nothing beats Californian thrash metal.”

Kai Robidas, Bucketlist Music Reviews (Nov 05, 2015)

“This band is not goregrind, not slam death metal, not deathcore and not brutal death metal, despite their extreme metal-sounding name. Kill Ritual is all about the shredding and guitar mastery, thrashing riffs, pounding rhythms and traditional metal singing. The band started in 2010, but there’s more to the story here. The band is led by Steven Rice from Imagika, the thrash/power metal band from California, U.S. that lasted from 1993-2010. As you can see, this is Mr. Rice’s post-Imagika adventure, but fear not: the idea is basically the same, to concentrate on that thrash/power/prog area of metal music. Kill Ritual has two previous albums, ‘The Serpentine Ritual’ (2012) and ‘The Eyes Of Medusa’ (2014). The album is recommended for people that prefer more sophisticated forms of thrash (not the punk/hardcore stuff), with more skill and higher standards, and that also like the prog metal elements.”

Metal Bulletin Zine (Nov 11, 2015)

“Their music and vision has been heard loud and clear here on the dArksIde and we hope to do more work with this “Must Hear” Metal Outfit.”

Tim Shearn, tHedArksIde (Oct 21, 2015)

“Kill Ritual’s sound is more modern driven than many of the more retro-flavored acts that tend to play around Sin City, but they clearly draw their influences from a variety of sources. Essentially, their sound takes the rawness and heaviness of classic Bay Area thrash, and brings it into the 21st century with more elaborate production values and an all-around more modern sound. The band’s songs are hard and heavy, yet they do not veer away from the occasional more melodic song as well (although these sure as hell are not “ballads!”) Although Watson is a newcomer to Kill Ritual (they did two albums before he joined the band) he seemed tailor made to be the frontman here. One of the things I loathe about more modern flavored rock and metal is that so many of the vocalists are mindless screamers, with no real musical quality to their voices. I have not listened to pre-Watson Kill Ritual releases, but he fits the bill here nicely.”

Taylor Carlson, ZRockR (Oct 18, 2015)

“new energy and a new singer who convinces immediately, providing a stamp less thrashy, more than setting doom, heavy, something that gives the album a more heavy direction and power, less fierce, more technical and sophisticated … something reminiscent of Symphony X. Then a further turning point, a more inteinsa evolution in the sound of Kill Ritual which again will slam in your face a hard lethal, powerful, immense qualities … once again emerged clearly from the work of the mixer Mr.LaRocque . “Just A Cut” opens wild and seems to be an album of Symphony X crossed the bay area with healthy, just and powerful. Arrangements, melodies, riffs … tons of details showcase the growth style that is felt throughout the disc. Less thrash equals less gutting of vertebrae? No. And the answer is “Rise”. Riff massacres marrows, with technical, choirs, fantastic guitar, drumming superb, total voice…”

Luke Zakk, MetalHead (Oct 16, 2015)

“I wish I had heard of these guys before now. Going back to their earlier songs, they really put a dark flair on an already blackened genre. Upside, this is an enjoyable ride through lunacy. Heavy on the metal side with enough progressiveness to keep the nerds like me entertained. The song writing and arrangements keep the record flowing. Everyone is level in the mix and the solos are impeccable. I enjoy the soft distortion on the bass and the incredible abuse on the drums. I’m giving Karma Machine a big 10 for simply killing it in the headphones!”

Tim Duran, Horror Metal Sounds (Oct 01, 2015)

“Karma Machine – With the opening pinch harmonics the guitars take flight at a speed which you can feel the wind in your hair and bugs smacking your face. This is the type of metal that employs not just fiery playing but also groove and dynamics. The guitars in tandem with the pummeling of the drum kit hit you ears like a fright train rolling flat out. Vocal work is a bit reminiscent of late eights work. Lyrics ring through clearly and are preformed with a fair amount of well controlled vibrato. While there no notes are sung high as the stratosphere the melody obtains a masculine tone without sounding like a pissed off Cookie Monster or Tasmanian Devil. Lead guitar work is full with dynamics that employ blistering runs and a fair dose of soulful bends. One of my favorite tracks was “The Enemy Inside” the opening guitar tones reminded me of Soudgarden’s “Jesus Christ Pose”. There is much mastery in each song that will make even the most tart fly into full blown air guitar…”

Music Reviews by Michael (Sep 30, 2015)

“It’s easy to see why Kill Ritual are gaining notoriety for their contemporary twist on thrash, Karma Machine once again breathing life into the genre and setting them apart from more traditionally associated acts such as Metallica and Slayer; whilst still rocking hard. 8/10”

Musipedia of Metal (Sep 24, 2015)

“The songs are powerful but retain melodies well composed is a prime example “Rise” with riffs to shake his head but also beautiful choruses and good account of David precisely. But the proposal of the band proves briliant US varies and so we pass by the aggressive “The enemy inside” the classic metal of “The Key” to the beautiful instrumental powereggiante “My green room”. Besides the title track, a song well composed with excellent solos, good vocals and riffs convincing. Certain lack of genuine moments that leave you speechless, but this work you can listen pleasantly. To sum it is clear that this new record weblog Kill Ritual is a solid job, well-produced and recorded, that without tearing up some kind of consensus He will delight fans of the band because “Karma Machine” is a confirmation of the value of the North American group.”

Federico Oran, All Around Metal (Sep 21, 2015)

“Rice’s riff combos, solos, and arrangement abilities are unquestionably the best thing about Kill Ritual. He’s a rather deft guitar player, hovering just a notch above what all-out thrash would be, as well as conventional melodic metal. It’s a fine line, albeit a difficult one to straddle. But on jams like “Just a Cut,” the prowling title track, and “Kundalini,” Kill Ritual turn in some convincing, purposeful up-tempo jams that as noted, aren’t total thrash, but aren’t pure melodic metal either. Lest we forget the excellent instrumental, “My Green Room,” as well. Fine stuff.”

David E. Gehlke, Dead Rhetoric (Sep 17, 2015)

“Karma Machine presents microphone arm of a man named David Reed Watson, who no yes no recollection of other musical merits to wake up, but yes, the guy right in their lot fully qualified Kill Ritual is. Although I admit to like more sound with Gibson, Watson, spurred the band surely will cope very well.”

Marko Saarinen, Imperiumi (Sep 11, 2015)

“Okay. So I did just repeat myself from last time. But I did use some different words. If you liked Kill Ritual’s previous material, you’ll dig this too. Up the irons.”

Craig Hartranft, DangerDog Music Reviews (Sep 02, 2015)

“Karma Machine sounds equally powerful. The style of drumming is quite different, but that alone will appreciate those who are really into the world of drums and cymbals. The band maintains its thrasheras roots, while mixing these sounds purely heavies and some melody. As we always do on the web, we choose a song that is neither the first nor the last of the CD, not the single, which we summarize the essence of the album, and that is undoubtedly “The Key”. The band maintains its musical line, one foot rooted in the influence of Annihilator and Megadeth in another. Yes, the voice of the new singer, David Reed Watson, has a body and a personality lacking both Mustaine and Jeff Waters. The title song, one of the strengths in a CD that has no fillers, shown in all its glory.”

Tony Gonzalez, Made in Metal (Sep 02, 2015)

“When the album is playing, you can feel how the band is really good, having some great moments, as we can hear on songs like the savage and melodic “Rise” (a song aggressive and melodic, that has a very good technical insight, with excellent guitar riffs and a deep and great work done on vocals, that reminds a bit the same style used by Matthew Barlow), the abrasive “The Enemy Inside” (what wonderful bass guitar and drums work on this great song), the strong and tender “The Key” (in beginning, it seems a ballad, but on a certain part, it gains weight and aggressiveness, with a perfect work on vocals), and the heavy weight song called “The Land of the Dead” (with a Progressive touch due the technical approach, another fine piece of vocals work, and the guitars are exuberant here on great riffs and solos). Buy it at once, and enjoy this very good band!”

Marcos “Big Daddy” Garcia, Metal Temple (Aug 27, 2015)

“California thrashers KILL RITUAL very actively pushes his creativity to the masses – for four years, this is the third full-length album. And, and, handing the Americans simply is “excellent.” Thick, kachevy sound cool hard solos, rich and confident vocals. Well, from the sound I have never there are no questions when it is engaged in by Andy La Rocque (KING DIAMOND), as he is the producer of the album under review. The cover, by the way, also drew a master of his craft – Brazilian Gioberti Mello (SABATO, PRIMAL FEAR, DESERT). No, really all very cool and great. Neither add nor subtract. Bold album. All the kid in jeans and sleeveless urgently listen to trudge!”

Agent Orange, Froster (Aug 26, 2015)

“The North American quartet KILL RITUAL, from San Francisco’s Bay Area. Yes, they are very creative on their third work, “Karma Machine”, the center of this review. The quartet has a deep and strong melodic feeling that appears a lot in all their tracks, giving us the clear sensation of hearing a mix between modern Thrash Metal, traditional Heavy Metal and something from Power Metal and Hard Rock sometimes. And by the way, the technical level is astonishing in some moments, but the weight is always present, without tearing apart the melodic sense of the band. Steve Rice (the band’s guitarist) produced the album, but in the mixing and mastering, it’s a great surprise to see Andy LaRocque’s name. And once more, the result is a sound quality done in an almost perfect weight, being as heavy and aggressive as it is clean, so we can enjoy their music in the best way we can. And the artwork for the cover, done by Jobert Mello (from Sledgehammer Graphix Design) is very good, being a fine incorp”

Marcos “Big Daddy” Garcia, Metal Temple (Aug 26, 2015)

“Kill Ritual was founded five years ago by ex-members from Imagika and Eldritch. For their third album Karma Machine had the drummer and singer vanish. A new vocalist was found in the person of Matt Reed Watson. He gained fame by Rage Of Angels, Electric Messiah and DNA for mixing and mastering signed Andy LaRocque, known for King Diamond.”

Clemens Schaap, Zware Metalen (Aug 19, 2015)

“The songs on this progressive 9-track album are full of driving drums, masterfully played guitars, and powerful lyrics that hold the airwaves captive from start to finish. Songs like The Key and Land of the Dead show the diversity of Metal – the former sings from the soul, plucking all the right heart strings; as the latter pours out of a graveyard and sets fire to the land of the living. Overall Karma Machine is an album that will keep any classic Metal fan happy for years to come.”

His Divine Shadow, 925 Rebellion (Jul 29, 2015)

“As the CD begins there is an explosion that shoots across the decades bringing with it an ’80s style hair metal insanity, that’s both fast moving, emotional and truly powerful. This slice of classic Metal comes from Kill Ritual‘s latest album Karma Machine. The songs on this progressive 9-track album are full of driving drums, masterfully played guitars, and powerful lyrics that hold the airwaves captive from start to finish. Songs like The Key and Land of the Dead show the diversity of Metal – the former sings from the soul, plucking all the right heart strings; as the latter pours out of a graveyard and sets fire to the land of the living. Overall Karma Machine is an album that will keep any classic Metal fan happy for years to come.”

his divine shadow, 925 Rebelliion (Jul 29, 0015)

“All metal heads need to seek out San Jose’s KILL RITUAL! Here we have a brilliant cross of old school thrash meets pure heavy f’n METAL. My GOD this stuff rocks. Truthfully, although their influences are well documented in the music they hammer out, I haven’t heard a band hammer it out quite like Kill Ritual. The riffs are total street. It’s muscle and power driven metal ramped up with chugging dynamics to make you cuss in delight as you break your freakin’ neck. Vocalist Josh Gibson is a rare breed of aggressive vocalists who could fit in a wide gamut of various heavy music genres, including 80’s glam, LA street rock, traditional metal, or balls-out, head banging thrash. Calling Gibson versatile is an understatement, and the fact that this guy has the vocal pipes to send even the most thrashiest thrasher in all of thrashdom vocalists home to cry in their soup kicks KILL RITUAL’S musical cred up quite a few notches.”

R.Lawrence Blake, New Wave of Thrash Metal Blog (Apr 29, 2012)

“When you were a kid did you ever find a Christmas or Holiday present early and spoil the surprise that was supposed to happen on the big day? I did and it sucked to kill that feeling of anticipation that means almost as much as the actual present itself. I bring this up because when looking at relatively new thrash band Kill Ritual I’m scared to learn too much because what I have heard from their new single “Old School Thrasher” is all I really want to know. Unfortunately much like when I was a child digging through that closet, curiosity has gotten the best of me and I had to learn a little more. Kill Ritual is the brain child of former Imagika members Steve Rice and Wayne DeVecchi. They have set out to make classic thrash metal meet modern music. You might say to yourself: Don’t we have modern thrash? You would be correct, but what often happens is the harshness of the music can hide the fact that it is based on the 80’s thrash of the Big 4.”