Black Ferns Expose Their Heart of Darkness on "The Ritual" (KEXP Premiere)

Local Music, KEXP Premiere
Martin Douglas
Photo by Trevor Crump

A woman walks into a bookstore. That could be the setup for a very inappropriate joke, but there's nothing exactly funny about what happens to the protagonist of the video for Black Ferns' "The Ritual." A mysterious figure leaves a book on the shelf and then literally disappears, activating the curiosity of the leather jacket-clad book shopper. She's given a handful of crystals along with her purchase (by the same mysterious man who left the book on the shelf), to which she offers a speculative glance.

Two mysterious figures ride a black Lincoln Continental. A knife wielding woman drags a body through the woods. A woman smears blood all over her body, candles are lit, and occult-ish symbols are spray-painted on the wall while the protagonist tosses around in her sleep. The book is discarded.

On the song itself, Zoran Macesic sings from inside the pages of the book, walking through shadows and deflecting a broken heart by explaining his heart of darkness. Chris Jordan's bass slinks and rumbles underneath Macesic's blaring bursts of guitar and soft-but-eerie vocals detailing a look in someone's pupils reminding him of dark skies.

As the song roars toward its climax, it's easy to listen to "The Ritual" and be reminded of the sliver of time on commerical rock radio where Interpol ruled the roost and bands were donning black threads and singing about their darkest ruminations. Black Ferns represent the near-apex of that seemingly bygone movement, crafting a skyward post-punk perfect for filling a dark concert hall full of people thinking about the darkness inside of them.

Here's what Jordan had to say about "The Ritual:"

The track “The Ritual” is essentially about a cold-blooded killer living in a novel. It’s a song at its darkest heart. We approached writing this one with a real haunted, mystical mind set. The tracking for this album took place during the gloomiest and most kinetic days of the fall season in a basement studio in Portland OR. I feel this track captures a lot of the vibe we were submersed in while recording. Dark and rhythmically hypnotic — Definitely a theme throughout the new album, this track shows that off more blatantly.

Devices, Black Ferns' sophomore album, is out now via Northern Light Records. The band is playing an album release show November 2nd at Central Saloon along with Fotoform, Black Nite Crash, and Charlatan. Watch the video for "The Ritual" below.

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