Mexican project Ritualz has come a long way. The brainchild of Juan Carlos Lobo Garcia, it started in 2010 as a witch house outfit, presenting a series of limited self-released singles and EPs in the spirit of the genre.
After along hiatus he has returned with Doom in 2018, an album informed by his previous endeavours as well as by darkwave and electro-pop, released on Artoffact Records. A new sound further explored in the EP Satanico Supremo.
With the limited cassette HÄXAN the artist shows a more experimental side of his craft. The 14-track album is an alternative score for the famous 1922 film by Benjamin Christensen about the history of witchcraft, in the form of synth-based ambient, drone, noise improvisations.
If HÄXAN I introduces the work via suspended ambiances and eerie pads, the following HELL plays with pulsating synth sounds and evocative soundscapes, while HÄXAN II explores the possibilities of distortions and dissonances during droning excursions.
At the core of the album we find tracks like THE COVEN, a darksynth pastiche made of static loops and majestic atmospheres, or the abrasive factory-like SIN AND PUNISHMENT with its noise elements placed upon subtle ominous elements.
TORTURE METHODS sounds like a tribute to Carpenter’s soundtracks thanks to its obsessive synths and mesmerizing sense of urgency. Sparse drum machines and steady cymbals give even more character to the track, and ghostly choruses complete one of the best moments on the cassette.
HÄXAN is a great effort that shouldn’t be considered in anyway a minor episode in Ritualz’s career because of its peculiar genesis. Instead, we find here an artistic freedom where Garcia creates something that doesn’t copy his past and go further in his pursuing of new forms of expressions at the same time. Give it a listen.
July 3rd, 2020.
Text by: Davide Pappalardo