The Ritual was the last studio album to include drummer Louie Clemente, and also guitarist Alex Skolnick's last album until he rejoined the band in 2005. On the record, Testament began exploring slower, heavier territory for their music while still maintaining their thrash metal roots.
The album was semi-successful, making it to #55 on the Billboard 200. This would be Testament's highest position in their career, until 2012's Dark Roots of Earth, which reached number twelve on the same chart. The record also spawned the band's only charting single "Return to Serenity", which reached number 22 on Mainstream Rock Tracks. As of June 2007, The Ritual had sold 485,000 copies in the U.S, 15,000 short of Gold Certification.