RITUAL SERVANT: Feature Interview

Upon first hearing Ritual Servant’s new album, Albus Mendacium, one will immediately recognize influences such as Testament and Megadeth in their music. While some may find it preposterous to compare Ritual Servant to a couple of all-time great bands, Albus Mendacium is a very good album musically—old-school thrash with driving, low-register riffs and snarling vocals. But then, you hear the lyrics, and it’s only then that you clearly understand the true purpose of Ritual Servant: to glorify God and spread His Message through heavy music. We all have a calling in life, but these guys fulfill this calling in the most obvious of ways! Releasing a full-length album and three EPs in the last 18 months, the band has certainly kept busy. Seth Boone (drums) and Patrick Best (vocals, guitar) spoke at length about their new albums and how everything has been done with the goal of bringing glory to God!

Chris Beck: How did the idea come about of releasing some previously recorded songs as a new album, Albus Mendacium, on Roxx Records? Now that the album has been released, are you happy with the end result?

Seth Boone: The idea came about from Patrick, and in congregation with our record label, Roxx Records. Originally, the concept was to release the EPs before the record and have Albus Mendacium represent the most polished form of each tune, while also having additional songs. When collected, the EPs would fit together to form an exclusive art from Noel, the artist behind Metallum Evangelli and Albus Mendacium. The EPs were designed as a treat for the fans, and represented a way to stay active and engage with them during the harsh realities of the COVID lockdown. Unfortunately, the pandemic delayed lead times across nearly every industry, especially for vinyl printing. The printing time for 7” records is even longer than traditional vinyl, so our timelines were pushed back significantly, to the point where Albus Mendacium is now complete and out in the world.

However, we have incredibly supportive fans and friends who understand that all things are meant to happen in God’s timing. Praise God, the final 7” will ship later this year, and we’ve received ample feedback and goodwill from our community on our determination to see it through. While the production on Albus Mendacium represents the full potential of each song, the sonic quality on these EPs really stands out as something special, a time capsule of the grit it took to make this experience happen. Additionally, the completed painting is just brilliant, and we’re just as excited as the fans to get our personal copies to frame. All glory to God.

Patrick Best: Releasing songs as they are finished is done for several reasons. Firstly, our goal was to get God’s eternal word out and we achieve that by releasing each song as they’re completed. Secondly, this generation of music is very “right now…we don’t wanna wait for a full album in two years,” so it’s important to keep your fans engaged and up to date with new material. Bands right now seem to be struggling to stay relevant by waiting so long before releasing something new…even well-established bands are dropping videos and new material way before the full album release date hits to try and keep the momentum and spark alive. I had this idea that would cover all these bases that I proposed to Roxx Records and Bill (head of Roxx) loved the idea. I wanted to release four different 7” records with 2 songs each (R and S side) but have all four form a beautiful painting done by our artist, Noel Puente. Each would have a different Latin theme and would all four complete the painting when put together. Also, these EPs would feature different mixes and masters and a different, shortened version of the song due to time issues available on a 7” record. So far, three parts have been released: Veritas, Misericordiae and Opinione. Redemptio should be coming down the line soon to complete the series. Praise God for this incredible blessing! As far as Albus Mendacium is concerned, we are extremely happy with the record and so glad that after over three years, it has come to fruition and is getting great feedback! All glory to God.

Why did you name the album Albus Mendacium, which I believe means ‘white lie’ in English? Also, what does the cover artwork, which noticeably depicts a wolf in sheep’s clothing preaching to a congregation of sheep, mean to you?

Seth: Pat and I discussed for many weeks the theme of conviction that God put in his heart. Being from the South, we heard the phrase “it’s just a white lie” many times growing up, often from people who meant well…yet the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. By agreeing to participate in half-truths, often people find their faith watered down by worldly comforts. We wanted this record to be bold, and based in the Word of God, where often His truth can make us uncomfortable. The words “white lie” popped in my head after praying about our album cover, which depicts a wolf in sheep’s clothing preaching and peddling to an unsuspecting flock. After translating the phrase to Albus Mendacium, I sent it to Patrick as an idea, and he immediately confirmed it as the name of our sophomore record. It was all the Holy Spirit–praise God!

Patrick: Albus Mendacium came to us as I was talking with the band and voicing my concern about this record being really convicting to the listener and I wanted to expose the white lie that the Holy Spirit was showing me that is taking place everywhere now in the world, and that is the lie that we all struggle with…lukewarmness. The song “Revelation 3:16” closes the record for a reason–to bring forward that lie and show how God feels about lukewarm faith. Today we see, especially in the Church, more and more wolves telling us things are okay, telling us what we want to hear, instead of the hard truth that Jesus left us with. How many times did He warn us of false prophets, even prophets that could heal and perform miracles and claimed to come in His name, but their hearts were far from God and their motives not of His Kingdom? I think Matthew 7:15-16 illustrates the cover best. Praise God for wisdom and discernment through the Holy Spirit.

Do you have a desire to play any live shows to support the new album, and do you have any specific plans yet in this regard? What are some of the challenges in getting concerts organized?

Seth: The challenge is a matter of geography, as all the members live in different regions. Yet, that’s never an issue for God, so when He provides a way, we will walk through that door.

Patrick: All I can say about this is the desire is there, but we have many roadblocks facing us when it comes to playing live, mainly because we live about 3 hours apart. But if God wills it, He will find a way for us to make it happen!

Take us back to the beginning of the band…how was it was initially formed, what were your goals for the band, etc.?

Seth: Ritual Servant was formed when Patrick approached me to drum for a couple demos he was putting together. I took a listen, and really dug the sound. I had always respected his previous work and knew that we could have a fruitful partnership. As the first EP and record came together, our main goal was glorifying God. Pat always said our mission was to be Scripture-based, Christ-exalted, metal gospel. During the Metallum Evangelii days, God was leading my heart through an intense journey to know Him. I believe the ultimate manifestation of this was our conviction to put Christ Jesus on our album cover, unburdened by our logo or album title. If we were to be Christ-exalted, we were going to truly put Him first. Patrick immediately agreed, and that boldness has created lasting ramifications for the current journey we’re on. Albus Mendacium is a direct continuation of that conviction, and all we can do is rely on the Lord for what comes next.

Patrick: Ritual Servant was formed in January 2016, when I wrote the first two tracks, “The Sacrifice” and “Seven Trumpets”, right around Christmas 2015. I wanted to start a band, this time around, solely for Christ and had been convicted by the Holy Spirit for several months leading up to that, because I was living lukewarm in my faith and personal life. I contacted a friend and fellow musician drummer, Seth Boone, whom was currently leaving his band for personal reasons. I let Seth hear the two songs I was working on and asked Seth to be a part of it and we decided to form the partnership. In February of 2016, I rededicated my life to Christ at a church I was attending on Valentines Day, and decided I was going to be on fire from now on for the Truth. Seth was finishing college at the time; that May, he was able to start laying down drums for the two tracks and together write the final track, “The Just”, for our 777 EP which was released digitally in April 2017. We immediately had interest from several labels after releasing the first lyric video in September of 2016 for “Seven Trumpets”. I clearly remember that same day being hit up by a couple of new fans saying we needed to get in touch with so and so and this and that label. The response was incredible in just the first 24 hours and soon after we decided to sign with Roxx Records for our first record.

Describe the impact of God’s calling on you as individuals in the band, or the band as a whole, when initially formed. How has this calling changed, or become clearer, today?

Seth: The Holy Spirit was deep at work in my soul during the early days of Ritual Servant. I was studying Arabic at the time at a university, attempting to create bridges with a culture I had long misunderstood. God kept opening doors, and it eventually led me to study in Israel in spring 2019. What began as an academic experience quickly evolved into a spiritual reckoning that left me an angry mess on the banks of the Galilee. Later, in the midst of my grief, I felt a hand on my shoulder–a real pressure–a warm, calming comfort…yet I was completely alone. As the hand continued to press unto me, all of my emotions erupted: the anger, the rage, the need to “know”. The floodgates opened and I sobbed uncontrollably; I knew that it was a Holy Spirit moment and I know today that it was Christ Jesus who found me during the most difficult spiritual moment of my life. As I continue to dig into the Word, the calling to serve God becomes clearer, and continues to evolve the sound and ministry of our brotherhood through Ritual Servant.

Patrick: I would say with God’s blessing, Ritual Servant has just become stronger and more boldly impactful in our mission. I feel that RS is a way we can fulfill the Great Commission that Christ called the disciples to before He ascended. It has brought us closer as disciples and brothers of Christ and the Holy Spirit just continues to bless the riffage and writing for God’s glory. We have seen God move in so many ways with this mission and have received emails from fans saying how they really appreciate the boldness of the message and it has helped them in their personal lives and even from unbelievers and fans that don’t like thrash, but they like RS even though they may not agree with the message, but that’s how seeds are planted…they may not grow right away, but on good soil they will eventually produce a crop that yields for the Kingdom’s harvest.

How did you come up with the name Ritual Servant and what is the meaning of the name?

Patrick: I initially wanted to name the band Servant. We are called to be like Christ, who was the ultimate servant, even at the cost of His life on the cross, so that to me stood out and fit the sound of the band, in the beginning. I noticed in my research for a name there was a band named Servant that had been around 30+ years and was Christian. I immediately contacted them and they were so kind. They explained to me that they still had albums out and didn’t want the fans to get confused with the two names so they didn’t think it was a good idea. I began to get my band list and start writing down names, but really wanted to use the name Servant still, so I asked God for wisdom and discernment for a second name to go along with Servant. About two weeks later, He sent me Ritual. Ritual is something you do every day, all the time and a practice you make your daily routine. Christ commanded us to take up our cross daily, so Ritual made perfect sense to me and when put together, Ritual Servant showed promise. We are commanded to be on fire for Christ, not lukewarm. Also, Ritual Servant fit the metal vibe perfectly as I was going for an old-school influenced metal sound.

Your lyrics are purposeful, succinct, and direct. I’ve also noticed your social posts and other communications are similar in nature. Describe your process for selecting a topic to write about and how you then develop the lyrics for each song.

Seth: The Holy Spirit works through Patrick, and every lyric on the past two records has come through him inspired by the Word. As we continue to pray and meditate on God’s will, I’ve felt the Holy Spirit work through me as well, directing me towards specific passages in Scripture. The goal is to have less of us, and more of Him; to clean first the cup inside so that the outside may be clean. I pray we continue this way of writing and engaging with the Gospel.

Patrick: This one’s easy…I pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show me what Scripture to write about. He does and then He writes the songs through me, all the riffage and structure and lyrics come directly from Him. Then I send it to Seth and he lays down the groove. Then Ryan comes in after the cake comes out of the oven and adds the sweet buttercream icing which takes it to a whole new level. Praise God it’s become a delectable dish that has satisfied our fans…haha, that is, until they want more cake.

My favorite lyrics on Albus Mendacium are probably from the song “Death and Life”, which describes the powerful impact, both good and bad, that our words can have on others. What is your favorite song on the new album, lyrically, and why?

Seth: Recently, I’ve been meditating on our song “Lazarus”. There’s a line in the bridge that goes:

“Anyone who walks at night stumbles, having no light as a guide.

Are there not twelve hours in the day? Giving light in this world to see by.”

This is based on scripture, John 11:9-10, where Jesus responds to His disciples, who have voiced concern to their Rabbi about returning to Judea. You see, only a few days prior the people of Judea had attempted to stone Jesus, so naturally the disciples were floored that their teacher would willingly return to the region, even if to save their friend Lazarus. Jesus’ response is one of calm bravery, stating His intention to walk in the light regardless of the danger. This is especially powerful, because to me, the miracle of Lazarus’ resurrection is the defining sign of His ministry. He knew this moment would reveal Him to the entire world, it was the catalyst that would forever throw His name into the light. That light, that exposure, would eventually lead to His capture, and His ultimate sacrifice. He knew this and maintained remarkable bravery and spiritual impenetrability on behalf of His Father’s will.

Patrick: I would have to say “Revelation 3:16”. It’s a real heavy hitter and the prayer at the beginning, “Anima Christi”, is just beautiful and one of my personal favorites. When I first read that verse, I realized how many believers, old and new, hold on to John 3:16…and that’s just the beginning of this arduous and joyful journey. Revelation 3:16 is hard Truth and most of us don’t want to swim out to those treacherous, dark, unknown waters. It’s a pride thing and something that is innate in all of us. We are happy in the safe, knee-deep shoreline where we are told everything is ok and where we can see the bottom.

The band’s music is old-school thrash, reminding one of early Metallica, Slayer and Seventh Angel. This is not a common style of music today but is clearly intentional and is also done very well! How did the band’s style develop over time and how does it help you deliver your intended message?

Seth: Our process continues to evolve, yet its core retains a similar structure. Patrick receives the inspiration from Scripture and sends his vocals and guitar parts over. From there, I sit and pray with the tune before taking it to the drum set. The drums on Albus Mendacium were recorded in multiple studios over the three years it took to come together. All the while, I was taking notes from engineers and other studio professionals on how to build my own home studio. By the halfway point on the record, I had a functional recording setup that became more efficient with each tune, praise God. When we reached the end of the record, “40 Years” and “Revelations 3:16 (Anima Christi Extended)”, we were running a pretty streamlined process.

I believe this had a huge impact on our sound for Albus Mendacium, as I was able to send multiple track interpretations to Patrick and get his approval and feedback. He and I are really locked in with each other rhythmically on this record, which I feel benefited Ryan when it came time for him to craft the solos and leads. Additionally, I think a large portion of credit for our sound is due to Brian McKenzie, our producer and session bass player. He really has a love for the sonic imprint of those early era thrash bands and knows how to lock down a tight low end. All four of us had full authority to lean into our strengths, praise God, and it just so happens that our gifts come together to create a joyful, thrashy noise. When each tune was done, we would say “this is the best one yet”, and I believe that’s all thanks to God and a reflection of the blessings He’s given us to glorify Him.

Patrick: I think all of us could easily say we have been influenced by TNWBHM and the original big four since we started this mission. On the first record we had a different lead guitarist who was also heavily influenced by these bands as well. When Ryan joined the band, he brought in more harmonies and melodies weaving in and out throughout the entire song, and while still having these influences Ryan brought Tourniquet as an influence to the RS sound as well.

Your video for the song “Lazarus” combines current footage of the band with old black and white film of Jesus bringing Lazarus back to life. It’s basic, but effective, and seems quite appropriate for the music and message. Tell us how the idea for this video came about, your successes and frustrations and ultimately how the band feels about the video. What feedback have you received from others?

Seth: The idea for the video came from Patrick. He leaned into the concept and spent time gathering footage, crafting a storyboard, and pulling us together. My friend, Nathan Crane, who is also credited as drum engineer on this record, happens to be an accomplished videographer. He agreed to help us with the video and was an absolute pro. The filming process was smooth, as we all showed up to the shoot at my studio with our parts locked in. For me in particular, I believe it helps that the drums on this album are real. When it came time to practice for our shoot, I didn’t have to go learn from a midi-sheet, because I wrote the original chart and performed it already on record. Because of that, we were each able to hone in on portraying the physical display of our talents, and how each hit would come across on film. Each of us came in eager and excited, and that invited the Holy Spirit into the room to take care of the rest! Praise God, the video has received love and appreciation, so naturally we’d love to do another.

Patrick: We had just finished up in the studio with our newest single, which happened to be “Lazarus”. We all had decided to shoot a video and were trying to come up with a song to do a concept video with and “Lazarus” just was the obvious choice. I remember we were on a group text and we all responded “Lazarus” unanimously, so it was all Holy Spirit influenced and directed. We immediately started praying for a direction conceptually for it and I started researching footage that we could use. To be honest, the first thought I had for the overall video was Metallica’s “One.” I remember seeing that video for the first time and immediately being drawn into the military film used in it (there were actually two films). For those not familiar with the lyrics of “One”, just the imagery of the wounded soldier and how you could hear his thoughts as he lay there were powerful to me and I wanted to do something similar with the tone of us playing in and out of the footage. I prayed more about it and the Holy Spirit sent me a 1927 silent black and white film called King of Kings. There was a perfect 13 minute section of Lazarus in it and praise God, I knew we had a winner. I created a story board, gave it to the guys and had them add their input and then we gave it to the film photographer and editor, a friend of Seth’s who started putting it all together. I think the finished product turned out incredible and it really does draw the listener in with the footage. I love that in the beginning and end we were able to use the intro from the movie and outro for our video. It just shows how God works in us for His glory.

Ritual Servant – Lazarus (Official Music Video)

How did you come up with the idea to release four separate EPs on Roxx Records, that when physically put together the covers form one larger picture?

Patrick: That idea came from my previous band where I had an idea to release four EPs on CD, each with different covers but each with different band pictures on the back. We had to come up with a way to release music at the time that was financially feasible since we weren’t signed to a label, so I came up with that solution. I remember how fans would really look forward to the next part, especially the super fans who were collecting the physical copies. I basically took that concept to the next level with Roxx and asked if we could do 7” EPs instead of CDs and that it would form a beautiful painting when all four were put together. I had our concept artist, Noel Puente, paint the complete version and Scott Waters was able to resize them individually, perfectly lining them up (props to Scott) so they would all form congruently together the completed piece. The idea was to release them all before the full album dropped so that part four would be dropping right before, but when COVID hit, the whole project got derailed and timelines were pushed back, unfortunately; however, God is still in control and we are happy to say that part four, Redemptio, will be heading your way soon, as well as Albus Mendacium on 12” vinyl.

There are already rumors floating about of Ritual Servant’s next album. This is your chance to confirm or deny these rumors, and hopefully give us a quick preview of what we can expect on the next album, both lyrically and musically.

Seth: Pat and I are always discussing our next steps, and while we do have surprises in the pipeline, I can neither confirm nor deny that we’ve begun working on the next record. I will say…we are on the same page with who comes first, Jesus Christ, and that when He directs the Holy Spirit to work through us, we are ready and willing to carry out that Great Commission.

Patrick: We can neither confirm nor deny these rumors, but we will say this…what’s coming is a game changer! All glory to God!

How can the readers of Heaven’s Metal pray for the band?

Seth: We ask that you pray for God’s will to be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. If His will is for us to continue playing a part in spreading the glory of His Son, Jesus, then we pray for the courage to do it boldly, and with wisdom. All glory to God, amen.

Patrick: Please pray for God’s will for RS and for the Holy Spirit to work through us in His mission and this ministry so that we can reach more and more ears that are open to hearing God’s eternal Word. We thank you for this interview and may God bless your lives, mission and ministry. Peace be with you always.

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