“I’m hearing you say, ‘not enough is ok.’ Well it’s not… I’m with the Painted People.”
If you’re out and about in the dark clubs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, chances are you have run into the Zelig of NYC nightlife, Christian Dryden of The Ritualists. When not on stage stealing the show with his wild theatrics and melodic voice, the affable leather and velvet-clad frontman is often in the front row, supporting his friends in other bands.
2019 saw the release of The Ritualists’ glorious debut album, Painted People, a shimmering kaleidoscope of glamour and fire. The Ritualists can best be described as “gothic art-rock,” both in sound and in style. Dryden describes himself as “anachronistic,” straddling the flowery lyric style of 19th-century Romantics, psychedelic and glam elements of the late 60s and 70s, and the passionate vocal lamentations of early Simple Minds and Echo and the Bunnymen (particularly evident in Ice Flower). Dryden’s love for Bowie is reflected best in the rich Starry Night, a pure dalliance with the Ziggy-era sound.
Onstage, Dryden pours his entire soul into his impassioned, emotive vocals. Their lyrics are clever, educated, but never pretentious: the band deftly tackles love, loss, mythology, the occult, polytheism and spirituality in their lush sound.
“Every tour is an adventure with lots of highs and lows, luckily more highs than lows,” says Dryden. One highlight of their adventures was playing a glam rock festival in Atlanta. “Honestly, we didn’t believe that would ever be a thing!” Dryden muses. The band signed with German label Out Of Line Music and currently works with Reybee PR, another proud achievement.
The Ritualists are about to release a video for their second single, I’m With The Painted People, a raucous number that almost moves straight into Iron Maiden territory with Dryden’s frantic shrieks. They are also currently tracking demos for their sophomore album, which Dryden thinks is nearly complete in terms of the writing process.
“I’d like to get slightly more direct with my lyrical content, while getting slightly more abstract with my musical structures,” he says.
The Ritualists are one of the more exciting acts in the NYC underground, and it is certainly time for them to fly.
Their next live gig is The Kingsland in BK on Friday, 21 Feb at 8:30 PM.
Check out more about The Ritualists here
You can stream Painted People here: