SpiRitual Pulse

The promo material for Pulse describes SpiRitual as an "ethno metal project” and it’s an appropriate, if inadequate, description. The "eastern” melodies and vocals that open the record evoke Dead Can Dance but SpiRitual’s debut quickly lays down its heavy foundations, blending non-European musical influences with a little electronica and an array of metal styles from goth to death to traditional heavy metal. SpiRitual owe their existence to Stefan Hertrich (Darkseed) but Pulse is a group effort, bringing together musicians and artists from Germany, Russia, Colombia, Britain and the U.S. Swirling atmospheres, soothing textures and world beats combine and contrast with hard-edged riffs, growled vocals and a heavy groove, and the record is compelling enough just as a musical work. But it also serves as an intellectual argument, offering reading material (on the function and emotional impact of music) and visual stimulation in an elaborate and detailed multimedia section. At eight songs and under 46 minutes, Pulse feels short, inviting a quick follow-up and leaving the ears wanting more.