Ritual Interview with Bassist Robert Nusslein                          

Hello, thank you for the interview. How are you?

I'm laughing at things I'm reading on the news. What a crazy world we live in. Unfortunately it can get crazier so I keep my fingers crossed.

Would you mind sharing a brief history of the band for those unfamiliar with you guys?

Ritual started in Los Angeles in the early nineties (94) in protest to the L.A Thug Death Metal that was happening at the time. We were mostly hated but had a small die hard following that grew leading up to my arrest for church desecration.

Ritual is described as being “criminal black metal,” so what does the term “criminal black metal” mean?

Criminal Black Metal is what Black Metal originally was meant to be. Half music, half spreading extreme views by any means necessary. Unfortunately record labels who never would have heard of these bands if it wasn't for their extreme actions decided to sign Black Metal acts and have them tone down their views to sell more records.

What is the band working on now, music wise? How different will it be from your first releases?

We are working on the new record which we hope to have out by the end of the year. It will be similar in style to "The Summoning" album and hopefully satisfy longtime fans.

Since forming in the early 90’s, what have all of the original members been up to from then to now?

Both Ian Fleming and Mike Pardi play music outside of this genre. I won't mention what bands because it has nothing to do with Ritual 2009 and I'm sure they would prefer it that way. I formed the band solo and will rebuild it with new members and hopefully live performances will happen by the end of the year.

What was it like to be part of the black metal scene when it was first starting out in America?

I was writing letters with all the big names when it was starting and carrying on the work of The Black Circle here in the states.

What bands were you inspired by to start playing this genre of music?

Burzum, Beherit, Emperor, Graveland, In The Woods were some of our favorites.

What do you think of all of these bands sharing the name “Ritual”? On Encyclopedia Metallum, there are six others, all from the US.

They are obviously bar bands that never bothered to read a zine. We released 3 records and I'm sure we were the first to use the name.

Of course, some have read of the controversy between you and the notorious Metal Sanaz. For those who haven’t heard of it, in your interview with
metalunderground.com you spoke of her very briefly and she responded back to you creating somewhat of a small feud. So, what are your thoughts on the situation?

She's a fake slut that uses her bimbo looks to get interviews and make the Extreme Metal scene look like the Sunset Strip. I doubt she has paid to get into one concert in her life.

Why do you think she is so popular? Has any of her near 1 million “fans” left you any messages, cursing you out or whining to you?

Because she has an adding program on her myspace that adds people based off of what music they listen to. She wants to launch a Kim Kardashian style career off Metal music. Why you ask, because no one else is doing it. I'm sure a reality TV show and fragrance are in her future.

What do you think of the current state of metal in general?

I think bands like Dimmu Borgir, Behemoth etc have influenced a whole new generation of fans into thinking Black Metal is nothing more than Kiss style theatrics. Black Metal selling points used to be you burned a church or killed someone. Now it's having your girlfriend on keyboards, having a famous dad, recording at a famous studio, or being on Metal Sanaz's top friends! Here in L.A we have many Glam Black Metal acts setting up showcases for Roadrunner, waving the American Flag on stage, or being Hispanic Vikings etc.

More specifically, how would you compare black metal now to when Ritual first joined up?

When Ritual first started there was no scene except for a handful of bands in contact with one another releasing demos.
Crimson Moon, Black Funeral, Grand Belial's Key, Demoncy, Absu come to mind. Black Metal is obviously fucking stupid now and Ritual encourages violence against these acts that desecrate the sacred name of our genre. The above bands all have a heavy interest in the Occult and deserve your full support.

Do you feel that Ritual has been an influence to bands that formed after you? What do you think of the younger fans in metal today?
I have heard of bands being influenced by us. They mostly are backyard party type bands that are into it because it's old and they want to appear connected to the old scene. Whatever, if they want merch they can show me grace through razor blades.

What are your thoughts on Christianity?

A solar myth. The Son of God is the Sun of God. We have chosen instead to descend into darkness to then ascend into light. Darkness is the sacrifice we make to emerge a devouring god. Hail Predatory Spirituality!!!

What lies in the future for Ritual? Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Crimes, obscenities, and illegal activities! Fuck off to all the pussified zines that ignore us because we don't shower them with free merchandise for reviews, interviews. We'd rather send letter bombs instead! Thanks for the interview and good luck with the zine!

------ Interview by Suiisolation