Malaise has always been my favorite Swedish goth act. It was the first Swedish goth band that I listened to and it was them who got me involved in the great Scandinavian goth rock scene.
The only problem is that, although they have a lot of new material, they are not so keen on recording a new album. Hopefully this will change in the future, but it has already been 10 long years since their last official release.
I guess this is what drove Juho”Pallbearer” – their guitarist – to form a new side-project in order to express his creativity and put his song-writing talent to good use. Besides, none can forget the great songs he composed on Malaise’s “A world of Broken Images” album back in 1999….
So in 2013 he recruited Mattias”Reverend” (singer of a Swedish “Cowboy-Goth” band O-Kult) and Per”Demonizer”(ex-Malaise bass player at some time) and gave birth to his “occult” goth rock child called Ritual Reaper!
When I first saw the artwork of their debut 12” vinyl, I was quite surprised since it was typical of the old-school “black metal” album covers… Music-wise however, it had nothing to do with this genre… Their tunes are still GOTH ROCK, but occult-themed!
The 5 anthems included to their “Plague Ridden Kingdom” 12” blew my mind away and proved that Juho made a wise decision to form his own band.
Four years after their first appearance, Ritual Reaper are back with a new release and a new label. They signed with Gothic Music Records and released a full length cd which also includes the songs of their debut 12” in a remastered version!
In this album you will find all those things that you loved in their previous release, plus some new elements which show the band’s progress. The songs are equally characterized by power and melody. Their aggressive & riff oriented goth rock is still present (Sunlight Skull) and proves that the band is in top shape. The production is better with more clear guitars and some electronic parts (Sweet Radium).
Some songs could have been easily included in the new Malaise album (Queen Snow Kill), while the addition of female vocals works just perfect (Interstellar Traveler), adding an eerie touch to their sound.
Another song that you should definitely pay attention to, is “Salto Mortal”, a tune that is different from anything they have tried so far, including some atmospheric goth-metal parts which deliver an absolutely haunting feeling!
The vocals reach much higher standards, proving that Mattias is one of the best vocalists in this genre, while the rhythm section pounds like a hammer! The guitar work is excellent, as one should expect.
Concluding, I would say that I am thankful that Juho released a new goth rock album and I hope to see his new incarnation live on stage, because these songs definitely deserve to be performed live!! Long Live the Reaper!
Buy it from HERE