Ritual – “Widow”, 2008 reissue
Originally during the NWOBHM period “Widow” had 2000 copies released but due to a printing error the band logo was left off the album cover of 1500 albums which were stored by the band. At some point in time, a light-fingered body liberated the misprinted albums and the logoless albums can likely be found on auction sites and record fairs going for top dollar. Often there’s a good reason a record should be a limited edition and the appeal is only to those more interested in re-sale value than the music. Thankfully this isn’t the case here. This re-issue features a new album cover with artwork reminiscent of DC Vertigo comics, Death character. Serious collectors won’t just be buying something they all ready own in another format as they’ll also get some previously unreleased tracks .
“Widow” features both smooth clean vocals that bring “Heaven and Hell” to mind and melodic guitar passages from Gypsy Re Bethe. The six-minute mark of the title track could make a “Maneater” of a Hall and Oates lawsuit and then leads to a lengthy outro. “Rebecca” also has very long outro that could have been cut. “Come to the Ritual” keeps it shorter at just under four minutes and has guitar work not unlike early Maiden. The repeated use of rainstorms and thundercracks on various tracks over the album assist in conveying a dark bleak wintery mood. “Never for Evil” is a tight fast paced rocking track that really gives Ritual a chance to shine as a trio rather than just following around after Re Bethe. The quiet voyage of “Journey”’ centres around Re Bethe’s guitar leads, which could easily draw in a listener more used to a more mainstream rock guitar style. While an awful lot of bonus tracks on re-releases are often unnecessary filler tacked on the end of an album only to wear out a CD player’s skip button but those on offer here not only fit the flow of the album but enhance the overall re-playability of this album.