“II” is the latest EP from Dead Rituals, a band based in Naples, Italy, self-released last October.
While this is not a one-man band, Dead Rituals is centered around its frontman Andrea Caccesse, who also serves as its sole songwriter, producer and engineer, with a cast of collaborators, most notably vocalist Brita Penfold, who is featured in a couple of tracks.
The EP is composed of 3 tracks and an acoustic version of one as an added bonus, the 1st track, “Broken Memories” starts with an anthemic ambience, a driving and punchy drum kicks in, minimalist guitar lines join, and Andrea introduces himself, telling us a story of overcoming a negative and hurtful relation, punctuated by lines such as:
I don’t care if we lose it all.
‘cause after we’re gone, we’ll fade in the dirt.
After such intensity for the first to minutes, the track closes with a minute and a half of a slower, introspective segment, as if he teller is experiencing a brief period looking back in quiet reflection.
The following track, and IMO the Highlight of the EP, “Slow Down”, is a more mellower tune with in an unusual 5/4 time signature, the mood is a little more upbeat, from the ethereal synths, and the plea for a respite with a sneaky twist between the lines:
I am taking my time Slow down,
slow down and come to me.
I need to lie down
I am already over the edge.
The 3rd track, “When The Lights Are Out” takes a turn into a broody direction, acoustic guitars come to the forefront to add to the melancholy of the tune, the ethereal synths keep lurking in the background but in a more sombre vibe.
The final (bonus) track is an acoustic version of “Slow Down”, not much to add to it, perhaps Andrea wanted the effort to end in a lighter note, who knows?
Each track was created in a different style and mood, at first glance, they appear to be seemingly mismatched, but what keeps it all together is the thematic thread, about the ups and (mostly) downs of being with someone, giving the listener a conceptual feel, and making the effort more cohesive in the process, the musicianship is top-notch, and combined with the decent production skills of its creator, the end result is a highly satisfying record from beginning to end.