English trip-hop act Massive Attack seem to have faded themselves away in recent years, turning to activism and various promises of reunions and releases. Finally following up on those promises, Massive Attack have released their first EP in roughly five years, the stunning ‘Ritual Spirit’. The new EP comprises four tracks with each featuring a different guest appearance, including the long anticipated reunion with trip-hop artist Tricky. At 17 minutes, ‘Ritual Spirit’ is an EP-experience that passes by far too quickly, but is also one that firmly ingrains itself into one’s head with each listen.
Massive Attack’s latest EP release seems to have instantly reminded us all of the sheer power and grandiosity of their particular branch of trip-hop music. ‘Ritual Spirit’ slowly pushes along, using stronger elements of traditional hip-hop music to brilliant effect. At times, it feels sinister and macabre, creating images of dark London high streets and underground passages (perfectly expressed in the music video for ‘Voodoo In My Blood’). This is one of those few releases that manages to utilize guest appearances, with each collaborator cementing their position on the release by extenuating the particular tracks they appear on, rather than simply being an extra name for the credits. It’s arguable that ‘Ritual Spirit’ isn’t as chilled out as some of Massive Attack’s earliest releases, but it is one that’s hard to ignore the power of. There’s something almost hypnotic about what’s being presented here, suggesting a great new movement for the act to delve into on future releases.
This might be the sign of great things to come, or it might just be the result of years of trying and trying. At the very least, there’s a lot to be excited about for what ‘Ritual Spirit’ offers us, regardless of what is yet to come, if anything. Each track on the EP offers something a little new, and perhaps a little familiar from Massive Attack, all coming across as some of their absolute best tracks in their whole discography. This is a release one might find themselves constantly returning too, allowing oneself to delve deep into that head-space only Massive Attack’s music can provide.
- ★★★★★ 5/5
- Dead Editors feat. Roots Manuva
- Ritual Spirit feat. Azekel
- Voodoo In My Blood feat. Young Fathers
- Take It There feat. Tricky
Massive Attack’s latest release ‘Ritual Spirit EP’ is out now.