Ryte – Ryte Review

New year! New you! Oh, how I hate that creed. At midnight on New Year’s Eve, I was sound asleep and alone, joyously flaunting my disregard for this most nonsensical of global traditions. I made no resolutions for the new year either. Yes, this edgiest of numbers started the year in unbearably cool style, so much so that the Master of Muppets itself will be admitting to knowing me any day now. I entered the Field of Desolate Promos with confidence… and somehow, I left with Ryte, the self-titled debut of Ryte1, a doom-inspired psych rock/metal project from Austria.2 “For fans of Danava, Hawkwind, Hällas, Horisont…” “my word,” says I. “I’m familiar with none of these!” But I felt compelled to see what Ryte is all about regardless. Because it’s a new year, and, apparently, this is a new me. Damn it.

Ryte sports a sound roughly halfway between traditional heavy metal and stoner rock, with the doom influence from the latter generally outweighing the psychedelic influence. We’ve got a healthy helping of fuzz, an audible bass, and a largely instrumental album spanning just under forty minutes, which seems to me a good length for what Ryte is looking to achieve. The fact that there are only four songs here does little to deter; I rather think the format works well. A whole lot of variance in riffs and leads that transition well from one idea to the next, and Ryte feels like a full, cohesive record as a result. I was a bit surprised to find that I really like the band’s sound, but perhaps I shouldn’t be; it’s clear that this is the result of a lot of careful thought and planning from the band over the year-and-a-half the band spent writing it.

But what of the songs themselves? Opener “Raging Mammoth” sets the stage for an epic, traditional metal blast of riffing, but the bass and drum come in to set a more subdued, doom-like pace for the song. The guitar work, and in particular the leads, are varied and well-composed, and the eight-minute instrumental goes by with impressive agility. It’s never a boring song, but it has unfortunately few peaks and valleys either; apart from a brief interlude mid-way through, “Raging Mammoth” tends to play it safe, sticking to a pace and tone that works for it. As a whole, Ryte follows this trend. “Shaking Pyramid” follows, taking great advantage of the beefy bass and thin, high-pitched singing. These elements bring it closer to the psychedelic rock territory than its predecessor; then it dives into doom metal and quickly rises back into a faster, traditional-heavy-metal bout of riffing to close out the song. The result is a fun, more varied, and just slightly lengthy number.

Ryte is a tough album for me to really rate; it’s filled with good ideas, smart transitions, and a generous helping of skill. The production is fuzzy without being overly fuzzy, and the band is able to draw on their many influences with aplomb. In the shorter songs – “Raging Mammoth” and “Invaders” – especially, Ryte shines. And yet, I can never shake the sense that the band is playing things a little too safe. Each song contains ideas enough for at least two others, but I’m reasonably certain this sound wouldn’t work on an eight-track album of the same length. The result is a mixed bag of good choices and safe leanings, making for a listening experience that is enjoyable, but ultimately unsatisfying – or perhaps not as satisfying as you know it could be.

Still, I’m not at all ready to write Ryte or Ryte off3. Especially when we consider that this is a debut album, the band shows a lot of promise. As I mentioned earlier, this sort of music isn’t my typical cup of antimatter, but I found myself enjoying a lot more of Ryte than I might have expected to. This also means you should take my opinions here with a grain of salt4. As the album closes with a moving solo that combines Ryte’s every influence beautifully, you know that these guys have a really great album in them; it’s just waiting to see the light.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds
Websites: https://heavypsychsoundsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ryte-rytewww.facebook.com/rytejams
Released Worldwide: January 17th, 2020

Show 4 footnotes

  1. Alas, my tendencies towards redundancy have neither left nor gone away with the new year.
  2. I think.
  3. Go on, say that aloud five twelve times fast.
  4. But, really, you should do that anyway.
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