Edge Of Forever’s “Ritual”: A Profound Dive into Native American Narratives and Musical Evolution
“RITUAL is the sixth studio album from the Italian band Edge Of Forever, set to release on October 13th. The band is comprised of Aldo Lonobile on guitar, Nik Mazzucconi on bass, Marco Di Salvia on drums, and Alessandro del Vecchio on vocals and keyboards. Past albums such as Native Soul and Seminole were produced with this same lineup, with which they toured throughout Europe for 16 months. This undoubtedly served to further foster their creative synergies and strengthen their bond as a band.
Ritual delves into themes similar to those of Seminole, focusing again on Native Americans. While the previous album centered on the Seminole tribe, here we have another similar story, but with a more emotional twist as it involves children as the main characters. As described by Alessandro himself, the album’s narrative is as follows:
“RITUAL tells the story of the last two indigenous people speaking a language soon to be forgotten. The twins, a boy and a girl, were sent to two different residential schools and were told that there was no one else left from their Nation and they needed to forget everything they might remember from it, either language or culture. Secretly, they continued practicing their idiom, hoping to escape and find their twin somewhere in the world. The boy ends up escaping school and starts a lifelong journey which leads him to meeting his sister on his bed of death. The album tells a story of pride, strength, pain, but also ultimate joy and fulfillment in being who you truly and deeply are. ”
Ritual follows a conceptual structure similar to Seminole, with some standalone tracks followed by a seven-act saga.
“Where Are You?” begins with Native American chants, signaling the journey of two young natives. Musically, both Lonobile and Mazzuconi set the stage, awaiting the first drumbeats from Di Salvia, kicking off the album with energy. It’s the album’s lead single and aptly encapsulates the essence of what’s to come.
“Water Be My Path” reminded me of their earlier Seminole in terms of melodies, the use of Hammond organs, and the flawless chorus work. Ritual feels like a successor, something like a “Seminole II.”
“Freeing My Will” is more dynamic and vigorous, with double bass drumming, fiery guitar riffs, and swift keyboards, creating a neoclassical ambiance—a solid track.
“The Last One” showcases Alessandro’s vocal prowess. His singing is far from monotone, utilizing pauses and pitch variations characteristic of melodic styles.
“Love Is the Only Answer” highlights Aldo at his peak, showcasing various guitar techniques with progressive or neoclassical touches. He’s also set to release another album within a month with his band, Secret Sphere, titled “Blackened Heartbeat.”
“Forever’s Unfolding” is a ballad that screams “Alessandro,” with meticulously crafted vocal harmonies. In fact, I believe all the voices we hear are his. Some might say it resembles classic ballads of the German school.
“Ritual Pt. I” features more aggressive guitar work and some Blackmoore-like arrangements on this track. We shouldn’t forget Marco Di Salvia, a powerhouse on drums. With a background in heavy metal, he’s more than equipped for the melodic style. We’ve seen his prowess before with Hardline, proving he’s a versatile drummer.
“Ritual Pt. II Revert Destiny” at times feels reminiscent of Rainbow/Yngwie, before transitioning into a heavier mode, with Alessandro’s voice providing the melodic touch. Mazzuconi’s presence as one of the strongest and most powerful bassists in today’s scene is evident. His bass sound is crisp, deep, genuine—very organic.
“Ritual Pt. III Taunting Souls” begins with an epic start, polyphonic choral voices, then suddenly shifts into progressive territory. For a moment, I thought I was hearing Dennis Sherinian on the keyboards. A perfect blend of technique and enjoyment.
“Ritual Pt. IV Baptized in Fire” is a brief a cappella tune that seamlessly connects with the next track.
“Ritual Pt. V Ride the Wings of Hope” aligns with classics from Rainbow or even Michael Schenker. Towards the end, there’s a coda linking back to Ritual Pt. I.
“Ritual Pt. VI Cross My Eyes” is another of Alessandro’s mesmerizing piano ballads, imbued with his unique vocal magic.
“Ritual Pt. VII Reconciliation” retains the delay from “Ritual Pt. VI Cross My Eyes” throughout, serving as a conclusion.
And just like that, the album concludes. Forty-five minutes of evolved, impeccable conceptual work, with a harder instrumentation but melodically soft. It’s clear this isn’t meant to be a commercial, easy-to-digest record. Every aspect is carefully crafted, and it’s evident Alessandro pours his soul into this band.
If I had a criticism, it would be the album cover, which doesn’t entirely resonate with me. Otherwise, I can’t wait to add this to my Edge Of Forever collection. Yes, I’m a fan!”
By Alicia Albertos
(Spanish version here: https://rockandblog.net/critica-de-edge-of-forever-ritual-2023/)