Monday 6 June 2022

Formation Ritual - The Shifting Dust (Album Review)

Release Date: July 8th 2022. Record Label: Self Released. Format: DD

The Shifting Dust - Tracklisting

It Summons You

Coming Of The Tide

Second Rate Gods

Land Of Ruin



Heavy Skies

Get Through To You

Tip Of My Brain


Jason Tapia - Vocals/Guitars/Organs

Jose Perez - Drums

Joe Mora - Bass


The Shifting Dust is the debut album from Doom/Stoner Rockers Formation Ritual. The band play a blend of Fuzzed Out Psych Doom/Stoner Rock which brings in areas of Classic Rock and Desert Rock. The album has an unashamed "hip" and "retro" feeling whilst having a classic modern day sound all of its own. If you dig the heavy sounds of The Who, Black Sabbath and Uncle Acid then Formation Ritual are another kick-ass band for everyone to get acquainted with. I mention The Who as the second half of the album does remind me of The Who (70's era) when the Classic Hard Rock parts of the album become more prominent.

Opening song It Summons You is one that sees the band bring a classic style of Psych Rock with flashes of Heavy Doom, Fuzz Rock and Stoner Rock set against the Occult based Scorched Desert atmospherics that's held throughout this song. The song has classic sounding lyrics and vocals with a modern Stoner Rock/Metal distorted FUZZ groove. This track is undeniably CATCHY and revels in it's haunting 70's Occult/Retro world. Perhaps one of the standout tracks on the album with its huge sounding STADIUM sized vocals and riffs. 

Second song Coming Off The Tide is a more Blues based sound with cool organs allowing Formation Ritual becoming more doomier and perhaps more vintage/classic rock than the WEEDIAN sounds that accompanied the first track. This song is a good indication of how the band changed their tone and mood for the majority of these songs. The song does have it's fair share of Stoner based vibes but primarily being an Occult based track that sees Formation Ritual bring their gloomy presence to a more theatrical style of music. 

Third song Second Rate Gods opens with semi acoustic guitars and psychedelic noises for a more laid back approach and employing a 60's Folk/Hard Rock delivery for the first half of the song. The vocals do have a "Neil Young" influence to them for the first couple of minutes before Formation Ritual make the wise decision to go all in with the Heavy Doom/Stoner Metal guitars a few minutes into the song. When the song becomes heavier, Formation Ritual are on FIRE playing similar sounds to Uncle Acid and King Buffalo. There's some 80's inspired EPIC guitar solos near the end of the song. Thrilling stuff indeed.

Fourth song Land Of Ruin is where everything fully comes together and the album's different sounds have a sense of purpose and perhaps a more vital presence. As the band excel playing this deliciously heavy blend of Blues Rock, Doom Metal, Stoner Rock and every other style of music Formation Ritual get their hands upon. The lyrics and vocals remain in the Classic Rock world but everything else is thoroughly modern. 

Formation Ritual carry on playing this trippy hybrid style of music with great effect on other standout songs such as: Cotyledons, Oleander, Tip Of My Brain and The album does become quite far out and dare I say "Spaced Out" in places with perhaps the final two songs of Tip Of My Brain and allowing Formation Ritual to lay down the heaviest and most inventive parts of the album. 

The Shifting Dust is an album that will appeal to many different factions of the underground Doom/Stoner Metal scene. As it has something for everyone to fully appreciate and enjoy. iIth first rate production values handled by Jason Tapia and Jose Perez, this record is dynamically rich and powerful especially when the smaller details become the main focus of the album.

The Shifting Dust feels like a "greatest hits" package rather than a debut album. Formation Ritual have delivered an outstanding debut album and I wouldn't be surprised if one of the "big" indie labels within the scene will give this album the Vinyl Reissue treatment further down the line.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Jason for the promo.

The Shifting Dust will be available to buy from July 08th 2022.


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