By DJ Monk

Artwork for Trials Of Torment by RitualOriginally released back in 1993, and oft regarded in speed/thrash metal circles as one of the lost gems of the genre, this long-deleted debut (the Ohio band had released three demos under a previous incarnation, which went by the name of Torment) has been given something of a 21st Century make-over, primarily to mark Ritual’s imminent inaugural trip to this side of the big pond known as the Atlantic Ocean.

To be honest, looking back over the passage of 25+ years, ‘‘Trials Of Torment’ is fairly standard speed/thrash fare, albeit with elements of the then nascent power metal genre bubbling through, especially in Juan Ricardo’s high pitched vocals, which are distinctive enough to set the album apart from the growing glut of death growls and out-of-tune grunting which even then was starting to permeate its way into the scene. In fact, it owes as much to the likes of Maiden and Queensrÿche as it does to Metallica and Megaduff (sic): just check out the likes of ‘Espionage’, which quite easily could sit shoulder to shoulder with anything on ‘Empire’!

The fact, however, that it has been given a massive reboot in the mix department seriously helps this album find its place in the modern era, helping to demonstrate how the speed/thrash movement evolved but also was not afraid to expand and explore its boundaries (which is more than can be said of many acts who subsequently have followed in the footsteps of the likes of Ritual and just helped the genre to stagnate in the process).

Countless albums of similar vintage have not aged well. ‘Trials Of Torment’ has certainly passed the test of time and once again stands proud and tall, thanks to this timely refreshment, which comes complete with two bonus tracks, including the previously unreleased ‘Beyond The Sea’, which definitely would the likes of Helloween an extremely close run for their money. All of which adds up to being one of those “what if…?” moments in metal history!

  • ‘Trials Of Torment’ is released today (15 March). You can get your copy HERE.

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