Sacred Rite

The Ritual

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Sacred Rite's second LP was pretty much a retread of its first, only shorter on the former's challenging progressive arrangements and fantasy lyrics, and longer on conventional (read: ho-hum) song structures and equally routine lyrical subject matter. Yet, far-fetched though they were, these greater ambitions actually lent some credence to the band's earlier material, which, when stripped to a simpler -- some might say more commercial -- aesthetic, only revealed the band's everyman qualities to its detriment. And what had seemed accidental with the first album was now being confirmed by its follow-up -- namely, that the group was cursed with an inflexible, ultra-stiff delivery. In other words, though they could play up a storm and perform amazing feats of dexterous fingering, the members of Sacred Rite couldn't groove if their lives depended on it. Even the live material contained here often sounds wooden and unnatural, proving that the band would need one more year in which to ripen before showing any real promise.