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Cape musicians bring ‘Dead Ritual’ alive

By Staff | Jan 2, 2020

In a city with a budding youth movement and growing music scene, a local band is making a name for itself around the state and Southwest Florida.

Dead Ritual, a metal band comprised of Ida Baker seniors Brody Wierima, Daniel Dornbusch and Mariner junior Joseph Bentley, bring an energetic atmosphere to each performance.

The group will be shredding on stage at Ollie’s Pub on Cape Coral Parkway, Saturday, at 9 p.m.

So, what can you expect from a Dead Ritual show?

“Just really high-energy, jumping around,” said Bentley, who drums for the band.

“It’s about showmanship,” said Wierima, the band’s frontman and bassist. “We’re fun to watch.”

The band plays a mix of original works and cover songs, featuring selections from “Bullet for my Valentine,” “Murderdolls,” Sepultura” and “Knocked Loose.”

Those artists, along with various Metalcore and Deathcore bands, are influences for the three young musicians.

Dead Ritual got its start in 2018, when Wierima and lead guitarist, Dornbusch, wanted to start a band together. Wierima said his late uncle was the inspiration for the band and his current knowledge of the many styles of the metal genre.

“He really showed me more depth into metal bands,” Wierima said of his uncle, Eric Rasmussen, who himself was in a metal band in Minneapolis.

Wierima said his uncle started to show him how to play bass and got him interested in being a musician before he passed away in 2017.

As the band took shape and was featured with different members at different times, Wierima said his uncle, whom he and Dornbusch would often chat with, was the driving force to continue on.

“Daniel and I’s motivation has never stopped with trying to keep it going on in his name,” Wierima said. “Our first song was about him.”

Dead Ritual has played venues throughout Southwest Florida, and even in New Port Richey — where the band performed for the first time with current members.

Wierima and Dornbusch were looking for a drummer a few months back, that’s when they discovered the talents of Bentley.

“He’s a very impressive drummer,” Wierima said. “He has motivation. That’s what really sparked our interest. He’s an amazing drummer and he has the motivation to try and make this a living.”

The first time they all played together, there was an instant chemistry.

“We all jammed together, and that was a great first practice,” Bentley said.

Bentley is a self-taught drummer, having played the popular video game “Rock Band,” where players can simulate playing a guitar, drums or vocals along to a track that scores you based on “notes” you play along with the game.

“I played drums one time, then I ended up playing an 8-hour session of just drums,

Bentley said. “My hands hurt, but it was fun. The next day, I did the same thing. I just kept playing. After that, I wanted a real drum kit.”

Bentley’s parents saw how invested he was becoming in music and drumming, so they bought him a kit. A year-and-a-half later, the rest as they say, is history.

The band is working on creating more original songs, and hope to start recording in the near future.

Wierima said Dornbusch usually comes to a practice with different riffs, then he and Bentley will add bass and drums, followed by vocals.

“You can’t stress creativity when it comes to music, because then you’ll just hate it,” Bentley said of their process.

These guys don’t take any shortcuts when perfecting their craft, as they are constantly fine-tuning their skills and working to create music they hope can take them to the next level.

So, where does the name Dead Ritual come from? It’s an ode to horror movies of the past.

“Dead Ritual, in my opinion, is like an old slasher movie,” Wierima said.

Wierima’s love of vintage, old-school horror, as well as what he calls the “shock value” of dark religion, is where the name came into existence.

Performing, as it does for many artists, is a way to become an extension of, or another form of yourself. The same applies to Dead Ritual, thus the face paint and the energy they create on stage.

“It’s a whole different experience,” Bentley said of playing on stage.

Wierima agreed, adding that watching the crowd react to their intense style and heavy chords is rush.

“Obviously I don’t act and move around how I am on stage when I’m in public,” Wierima said. “You put on face paint, you put on stage clothes and you’re set up, and all you have to do is entertain. It’s super fun. I love being able to watch other people enjoy the music. It’s a really good feeling.”

Wierima said he’s started to notice some familiar faces in the crowd at local shows, some who are starting to jam along with their original songs, another great feeling for a band that’s working its way up the ladder. The shows are also getting bigger, he said.

“There’s a really good scene that’s starting to rise up in the Cape Coral/Fort Myers area,” Wierima said.

Venues like Ollie’s are becoming more common and can become homes and starting points for bands like Dead Ritual.

Wierima said the local bands all have great relationships and try and help one another grow.

“Why I like the scene so much, is because the bands work together, it’s not like a competition,” Wierima said. “Bands will talk about other bands (positively).”

Dead Ritual also hopes to inspire those who want to play music, no matter the genre or skill level, to give it a shot.

“Just make music, anywhere you are, just do it,” Bentley said. “What’s stopping you? Even if it’s bad, you still made something.”

Creating bonds that last a lifetime is also another aspect of being part of something that Dead Ritual finds rewarding.

“Find people you like, too,” Wierima said. “It’s a harder thing to do, to find people you like more as people, than musicians. It doesn’t matter if you’re in high school. Don’t worry if you’re 60 years old, or 17. It doesn’t matter how old you are, it doesn’t matter what you look like. Just have fun.”

Ollie’s Pub is at 1019 Cape Coral Parkway. There is a $5 cover charge and the show is all ages. Nausratep and Silhouettes On Screen will also be performing.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj