Tag Archives: Ritual Howls

Ritual Howls: Darkness Falls on Detroit

Ritual Howls

Ritual Howls. Photo by Megan Major.

In the absence of light, the world takes on an achromatic pallor. Colors are muted, if not sucked away entirely; shadows form, obscuring dark corners and creating mystery. This is the world that Ritual Howls inhabit; darkness and gloom hang heavy over street corners and empty train stations, and there are secrets in the omnipresent fog.

Hailing from Detroit, Ritual Howls are guitarist Paul Bancell, bassist Ben Saginaw, and electronics/synth player Chris Samuels. Though the contemporary (and thriving) goth/post-punk/industrial scene has embraced them, their impulses skew away from strict generic conventions. All three members of the group come from varied musical backgrounds that include noise, industrial music, psych-rock, country, and hard rock, which gives their music an eclectic edge.

Their most recent offering, Into the Water, represents an even more accomplished vision than their previous three (very good) releases; they’ve been working together now for enough time that they have a clear vision of what they can and want to accomplish. The electronic rhythms on Into the Water are cold and driving, with a persistent bass throb pushing the songs forward. Layers of synths are a rainy wash against minimalist, reverb-heavy guitar lines. Winding throughout are moody vocals, and an abstract—but not inconsistent—narrative.

We talked with Ritual Howls about their environmental, cinematic, and collaborative approach to songwriting, resisting labels while embracing community, and more.

Continue reading