CHRIS SCOTT & CHRIS TUREK (RITUAL EARTH): “These Days For Us As A Band Is A Reprieve From The Burden Of Daily Life And Welcome Distraction From The Stress And Chaos We See Everywhere”

Ritual Earth

Psych Metal band Ritual Earth are set to release their debut album MMXX on March 18th via Iodine Recordings. This band will surely feature some familiar faces to anyone that has followed the music scene in Philadelphia. Forming in 2018 the band features members of Philly grindcore vets Chimpgrinder as well as George Chamberlin, who was once the vocalist for hardcore bands such as Autumn and Aim of Conrad. The bands rhythm section Chris Scott (bassist) and Chris Turek (drummer) took the time to talk with Metal Express Radio about the band’s debut album, the formation of the band, the challenges of playing music during the pandemic and more. Check out the chat below!

Metal Express Radio: The band’s debut album MMXX is set to be released on March 18th. What can you tell fans about the upcoming release?

Scott/Turek: MMXX is 6 songs of trippy heavy psych doom that takes several twists and turns throughout the record. There are many influences that the band tapped into when these songs were being written, everything from Sabbath and Kyuss to My Bloody Valentine and even some Pink Floyd. But the important things that remain consistent throughout, is that it’s heavy, dark, and melodic. We also really concentrated on song placement and the dynamics of each track going into each other as we really wanted this record to be enjoyed as a whole, a journey in which we invite the listener to be a part of. We also took some extra time when mixing to allow for the experience to also be enjoyed on headphones.

MER: How was the writing and recording process having this being the band’s first album?

Scott/Turek: Well, this is Ritual Earth’s first record, but certainly not the first for any of us. Steve, Chris, and Chris have been working together since 2011, and from the start we’ve been recording and producing our own stuff. MMXX is actually the first piece of work we’ve done that we really felt is beyond our skill level to mix. We’re very comfortable with our engineering abilities, which is maybe a double edge sword. Since we’re not paying for time, we can take all the time we want in our little studio recording tracks, which takes all the pressure off of us to get things done, but where does it end? George is really great in that respect, he keeps us all on track, or at least tries. But recording is a big part of our writing process, and we like to take our time. We’ll get bass, drums and rhythm guitar tracks done, then Steve will disappear and come back with layers we had no idea existed, it’s awesome. The music blossoms in the machine, it’s something we really enjoy about having our own space and tools.

MER: The band recently released the song ‘Free From My Vessel’, what kind of feedback have you received on the song?

Scott/Turek: The feedback has been exceptional. What I love the most about what I’ve read and heard from others is that the song is enjoyed by folks across different genres, it crosses some boundaries and isn’t confined to one specific audience. You can simply say that fans of heavy music as a whole seem to enjoy it, and most of the comments do mirror our intentions with this song in particular. The one comment that has been recurring is “A dark groove”, which I enjoy a lot.

MER: Do you feel like ‘Free From My Vessel’ gives fans a good idea on what to expect from the full length?

Scott/Turek: ‘Free From my Vessel’ is driving, rhythmic with the atmosphere and groove that you’ll find throughout the full length. This song is a bit more one straightforward, but layered and driving. Thematically and atmospherically this song does represent a foundation for Ritual Earth, and brings to mind the feel and drive that we’re going for as a band. As you explore the full album you will find more expansive songs, but this is a good introduction to the record.

MER: How did the formation of the band come about?

Scott/Turek: Steve, Chris and I were in a band together previously, ChimpGrinder, which had started to dissolve around the fall of 2018. Although we had stopped looking for shows and weren’t really playing with our singer any more, we were still playing together, even trying some really bad ideas like switching instruments to spark some new ideas. I can’t say I know what we were thinking there, but at some point we started playing the right instruments and things clicked again instantly. We started recording some ideas again and decided it was time to find a singer. A mutual friend suggested I reach out to George, as his last band Seagrave had also broken up. ChimpGrinder and Seagrave had played together before so we already knew George had a great voice and we brought him onboard immediately. It was a really easy start for a brand new project for all of us. We had a foundation for George to jump right into with the demos we’d recorded, but there was a lot of room to breathe, to find a new space. We didn’t want George to just be a new singer for the old band, we wanted to start over, make it about what these four people can do. That’s also why we came up with the name Ritual Earth, giving it a completely fresh start. Steve and I also changed tuning, I guess just another way to move away from what was and embrace what Ritual Earth could be.

MER: What are some of the bands major influences to play music?

Scott/Turek: These days for us as a band is a reprieve from the burden of daily life and welcome distraction from the stress and chaos we see everywhere. The time in the room making music clears our minds of any other thoughts but groove and heaviness. Inspiration is observed and taken from everywhere, but growing up with heavy metal and grind, and watching people give performances different from other bands always inspired us. While there is a broad spectrum of influences for all of us as a band, some of the standouts that are obvious would be Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Soundgarden, Joy Division, The Cure, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Brutal Truth, Dillinger Escape Plan, Today is the Day, Voivod, Uncle Acid, YOB, and that’s just off of the top of my head.

MER: What do you see as plans for the band after the album release?

Scott/Turek: Well, that’s an easy question to answer. Release the next one, the machine’s already working! We do have shows lined up for most of 2022, some not yet announced but coming. We are also already booked for a few festivals coming up in 2022 such as the Doom and Brews IV in Jewett City, CT in March and the 2022 Maryland Doom Fest in July. But again, we are also about halfway through writing the next record and very excited with how that’s coming along.

MER: Who do you hope to tour with and why?

Scott/Turek: We really do enjoy playing with a wide array of bands, most of which we can or hope to complement each other in one way or another. For example, in early June of this year we are planning a three day trip to the northeast in which we are playing with Grey CELL, Edict, and hopefully Cortez. Because of our sound, I am hoping to continue to play with heavier bands such as Yatra and Conclave as well as some Doomgaze bands like Philly’s Dreamswell or a band like Slow Crush. And being from Philly, I want to say that I absolutely love Nothing and could see us being on a bill with them or a band with a similar sound. All of that being said, we are unfortunately not a full time touring band in the way where we can tour for 3 or 4 weeks at a time, we see ourselves as a Fest band with smaller road trip type stints. To better answer your question, we really just like playing with bands that we enjoy both personally and musically, and thoroughly enjoy playing on bills with a diverse lineup. Now, I would also like to say that personally for me, it would be a dream come true to play at least one show with Voivod.

MER: Have there been struggles getting the band off their feet given what the worlds been through the past couple of years?

Scott/Turek: Sure, I mean everything is a challenge right now. We’ve been playing out when we can, but even this past month we had three shows canceled. That’s just the reality everyone has to live with for a while. But in some ways Covid helped us. We were very lucky to have the bulk of music tracked for MMXX as the world shut down and went into slow motion. It gave Gradwell House all the time they wanted to work on mixing because there was no urgency, but also gave us more time to explore some ideas around keys that we’ve talked about for a long time. I reached out to an old friend of mine Mark Boyce (The Goats, Boss Hogg, Delta 72) and asked him if he’d listen to some songs to see if he wanted to work with us, and he was all in. Besides being a phenomenal musician, Mark is just one of the nicest people I know and it was a real honor to work with him. He got the vibe really fast and chose a couple of tracks he was most interested in, which just so happened to be the songs we thought would work best with keys. We’re pretty damn psyched with the end results.

MER: What are your hopes for the band’s future?

Scott/Turek: We really want to continue to create and make music, expanding our network and making friends of like minded musicians. Play out and have fun, record the next record and repeat the process.


  • Matt Zaniboni

    Matthew is an interviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He started his passion for music journalism back in his college radio days serving as the Heavy Metal Director at WKKL out of Hyannis Massachusetts. During Matt’s tenure in radio, he has had time working for commercial stations in Boston Massachusetts such as WAAF, WZLX AND 98.5 The Sports Hub before landing with Metal Express Radio. Anytime you want to talk heavy Metal, hockey, Guiness, and dad life, Matt is your guy m/

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