by Ashley Senja

It’s been almost two years since Matt Tobin graced the stage, setting aside the last couple nights when Ritual has taken on Ontario for their first ever tour.  For anyone who was head over heels for Dead and Divine, this has been a long time coming.  I was at their final show in August of 2012, and since then there’s been a little something missing until I saw Ritual take over at Detour Music Hall in St. Catharines last Saturday.  Ritual is the new project from Matt Ryan Tobin, who since disbanding Dead and Divine in 2012, has been writing and working on a new brainchild that he finally found a group of men who are as passionate about bringing it to fruition as he is.

With hard-hitting vocals that are as aggressive as they are powerful, these men deliver a raw and explosive sound that is sure to get your insides rattling.  They had me from the first riff, through to a haunting, yet enchanting, cover interlude-of-sorts of Cher’s “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down” before launching into their first single, Rat Queen.  Ritual is a mix of post-hardcore grittiness paired with melodic sentiments that no doubt reflects Tobin’s dark and poetic side, and that is what makes them so alluring.

Unafraid of audience participation, the boys got right down into the crowd, into the middle of the action in the pit, to scream in the faces of the anxious crowd who were as stoked as I was to see Matt on stage again.  If this is only the first string of shows, I am beyond thrilled to see what these guys have in store for us.  They launched right out of the starting gate with a blaze of energy, fiery passion and a feverishly powerful sound, so it can only be up from here.

Before they took the stage, I caught up with Matt briefly and it sounds like they have a whole lot of music to share with the world and are ready to get it out there however they can.  I have my fingers crossed for an album dropping in the near future so that I may quench my thirst for more.

Pairing up with Hamilton band Prophets, Ritual set out on a 7 date Ontario tour that concludes in Kingston on June 14th.  Do yourself a favor and make it out to a show.  Their first two singles “Rat Queen” and “Americhrist” are live on their website and you can also follow Ritual on Facebook and see what you’re missing.