RITUAL SPIRIT, Ritual Spirit (2001, Shark)
Lazy, ugly, and brown even by the depraved standards of Big Dumb Skulls, this is one of the saddest covers I’ve ever seen. What band could care so little about their art, what label be so unconcerned with success, to have settled on this image? It’s like a suicide note, this cover, anhedonia expressed through Photoshop. “We feel nothing. The world is without meaning. No one knows anyone, and we all die alone. Signed, Ritual Spirit.”
Unbelievably, indeed depressingly, I was not able to find even a single song by this band online. Shark Records released a lot of crap to be sure, but they were a big enough label that you’d think someone would have bought, liked, and memorialized it to YouTube, especially since the band was founded by some ex-member of Tyran Pace (known best as Ralf Scheeper’s first band). Almost every big dumb skull has left some musical mark on the internet, down to the most obscure and ephemeral artifacts of three decades past. Ritual Spirit, though, exists only as a collective dream, a half-remembered hallucination of middling power metal. Oblivion awaits us all, and one day the last person to have heard even Metallica will pass from this earth.
— Friar Johnsen