RITUAL SERVANT: Masters of Thrash and the Latin Language

Thrash is still a style of metal to be reckoned with, as many of the originators of the subgenre from the 80’s are still writing and touring, as well as new bands putting their own modern spin on the speedy style of heavy music. Ritual Servant is a band whose members hail from the southeastern US. Their debut in 2019 was so popular that it sold out and had to be reprinted. It even got the gold disc treatment. Here to talk about their brand new album, Latin, and Holy Spirit inspired guitar passages with me is lead guitarist Ryan Roebuck, here for a double header!

Chris Gatto: One thing I noted about Ritual Servant when their debut came out in 2019 was the absence of any pictures or information about the band members in the liner notes, just the line “All glory to God.” That struck me as being a very humble move…but also very frustrating as a journalist trying to cover the band. So, Ryan, my question is- did you play on Metallum Evangelii, or did you join later?

Ryan Roebuck: I didn’t play on Metallum Evangelii. I was fan of the album when it came out. I joined in late 2020. Patrick and Seth are great and humble guys.

There’s a four year gap between the debut and Albus Mendacium. Were Patrick and Seth actively looking for members to round out the band during that time? How did you get involved?

On the first album they used two session players.  Writing had begun for the new album in early 2020 and then of course covid happened. Later that year, they were looking for a lead guitarist for the new album. Patrick saw one of my playing videos on facebook and reached out to me. After chatting, I told him I would play some lead on “Into the Swine.” We gelled together and I joined the band. Over the next two and a half years we worked on Albus gradually.

As a guitarist, it must be a lot of fun to be in a full-on thrash outfit. How taxing was it for you to do the leads on the new album?

Not taxing at all. Lots of fun actually. I’m pretty hard on myself, so I really try to be intentional about what I play. Whether it’s a fast or slow solo, I try to write passages that accent the music and help to further the story.

Is there a particular them to this album? The title is Latin for “white lie” and the cover art shows a wolf in disguise preaching to a congregation of sheep.

Absolutely. The album is really a cry to believers to beware of false prophets. Test what you hear. We live in an age where they are running rampant.

Sure. It’s always been prudent advice to measure what you hear or read against what the Word says, and probably now more than ever. Ritual Servant’s mantra is “Scripture based Christ exalted metal,” right? No beating around the bush, no second guessing what the band’s intent is.

That’s right. Ritual Servant aims to be very clear where lyrical content is derived.

That’s great for metalheads that like the sound of a band like Slayer, but avoid listening to them because of their objectionable lyrics and anti-christian bent.

The band released this material in a novel way. Singles were released on 45’s, ahead of the full album release, and all four 7” vinyls together form a picture. Vinyl seems to be resurging even more than cds.

Absolutely! It’s fun watching both of those formats make a resurgence! With the 7” records, you get a very cool piece of artwork if you collect all four.

It’s always more satisfying to have the music in a physical format and fully see what the artist envisioned their music to be. (Some would make the same argument about magazines and I wouldn’t disagree.)

Are you close in proximity to the other members, or was this another internet recording?

Patrick is in Myrtle Beach. Seth is in Columbia. I’m in Atlanta. So we’re not too terribly far from each other. I have a home studio. Seth has a home studio. Patrick is down the road from his studio. So we are able to do our parts in our own studios.

I enjoyed the intro to “40 Years” and the prayer of “Revelations 3:16” because they brought variety to the album. What songs spoke to you as you were recording them?

It was interesting because Patrick asked me to write an acoustic intro to “40 Years.” The heavy part was already done. So, I was kinda thinking I’d like to do a dual acoustic thing. I prayed about it and the music just flowed out in no time. I recorded it and what you hear is exactly what God sent. It’s always amazing to me how that happens.

Nice. Albus Mendacium is available now from Roxx Records. What’s next for the band, and for you, Ryan?

Ritual Servant has a special single we will be releasing this summer. Stay tuned! As far as me, I am working on Motivik’s sophomore album. It has eleven tracks and is coming along nicely! In typical Motivik fashion, it has some interesting musical change-ups and guests!

Very good. Blessings to you, Ryan. Hope to see/hear from you soon.

Thank you, sir! God bless.

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