As side projects usually go, the musicians involved with them tend to steer toward the goal of getting a well-needed break from their bandmates. So, it may seem odd that two members of 3 Inches Of Blood, Justin Hagberg and Ash Pearson, would team up together and start a side project of their own. The fact that they are in the same band together played a major role in this project coming to fold.
“With all of our touring together all we have is time. We had plenty of opportunity to talk about music and how we were going to do it,” Pearson explains. “We had a plan. As soon as we got back home, we set them up and then we knocked them down.”
They call themselves Ritual Dictates and when you analyze them, it actually makes perfect sense. You see, Hagberg and Pearson were thrust abruptly into 3 Inches Of Blood and they both left behind some very well to do bands of their own. Hagberg’s background is that of the guitarist in what many consider to be one of Canada’s finest black metal bands, Allfather, and Pearson, as a young drumming upstart with his own extreme metal band Angel Grinder. Pearson would later go on to fill the heavy ankle weights of the all mighty Gene Hoglan when he replaced him in Just Cause. So you know these cats can swing bricks with the best of them.
It is those abandoned days that Ritual Dictates welcomes with open arms.
“I just asked Ash if he wanted to be involved. I sent him a demo and he was stoked,” Hagberg explains. “I missed playing heavy music. So, I came back into some influences that I played while I was in Allfather. Black, death, and war metal type stuff. My playing has changed. It’s a new project. I also brought in some rock and roll influences as well as punk and grind. Ash was also in some heavy technical death metal bands. So, we’re both thriving from our old bands, but at the same time adding in some new flavour to go with our years of playing.”
So self-releasing demos on cassette makes perfect sense right? Well, that is just what they’ve done. They wrapped up some of their songs and hit the studio with local guru Shawn Barnes. They have a bevy of musical nectar to go around and they are releasing it two songs at a time on cassette!
“It’s cheap. It’s easy to dub. We are a new band and the last new band I started, we started with demo tapes,” Hagberg goes back. “I respect the tradition of a band starting with demo tapes. I like the idea of putting the cover sleeves together. I designed the covers and Ash dubbed the tapes.”
Where can you pick up one these demo tapes? Get them at shows where they play. Ritual Dictates will be popping up here and there around the Vancouver scene and beyond. Their first and only show was opening for Fuck The Facts last month, which was a milestone for this newly embedded attack. But for Hagberg and Pearson personally, it was far away from a first show for them.
“People aren’t stupid. They can tell when you bring the noise,” Pearson says proudly. “It was good!” Ritual Dictates will be dropping sneak peeks online so take a gander. For now, they remain to be a juicy slice of pie for those in the know and now you know.
Grab a sneak peek of a goood thing to come here: https://www.facebook.com/ritualdictates/app_178091127385
By Heath Fenton
Photo: Shimona Henry