|Raging Speedhorn - ‘Lost Ritual’ (PledgeMusic)|
|Written by Nick Russell|
|Monday, 30 May 2016 03:00|
I remember Raging Speedhorn’s first song ever released, ‘Superscud’. It was on the 1999 Century Media Records compilation, ‘21st Century Media Blitz’ and there was a lot of pride that a local band of snotty kids I knew didn’t sound out of place amongst luminaries such as Stampin’ Ground, Stuck Mojo, Arch Enemy, Iced Earth, Lacuna Coil and Orange Goblin! Going on to release four very good albums, tour the world, create some mayhem and destruction, living the rock’n’roll lifestyle before band break-ups and an eventual split in 2008; it’s how we would all want to do it!
Six years on and they decided to re-form with pretty much the last line-up, with the addition of guitarist Jim Palmer from Charger and original singer Frank Regan returning to the fold. They did some gigs with the odd festival appearance thrown in, playing the early material, it was like the Speedhorn had never been away, with the same level of intensity and enthusiasm as back in the day. Due to an overwhelming fan reaction, they started a successful pledge campaign to record an album, with ‘Lost Ritual’ being the result.
Opening track ‘Bring Out Your Dead’ comes in with a heavy chugging riff and a chunky bass sound, with the dual vocals of Frank and John Laughlin being as abrasive and in your face as ever. The more up tempo ‘Halfway To Hell’ starts with a Motorhead-esque bassline before it stomps off with a chorus that you just know will be belted out by rabid fans at live shows before slowing down to heavy groove. Strangely enough the next song is actually called ‘Motorhead’, and it’s a stomping tune. ‘Evil Or Mental’ slows the pace down with heavy stoner overtones and it’s “You’d Better Fucking Decide” refrain. ‘Ten Of Swords’ has that old Speedhorn sound to it, back to the first two albums, it is super heavy.
As you listen to ‘Lost Ritual’, you get a sense of a maturity from the band now they are older and wiser, although that thought comes crashing down when you see a title like ‘Dogshit Blues’! A faster paced tune that shows they still have that snotty kid “fuck you” attitude they always had, which was always part of the appeal for me. ‘The Hangman’ has that older/slower feel to it before things speed up with ‘Shit Outta Luck’, which is another cracking tune. ‘Comin’ Home’ seems to be an amusing (and possibly quite autobiographical) tale of a nagging partner, with the lyrics at the end making me smile! They save the slowest and by far heaviest song of the whole album for the end with ‘Unleash The Serpent’, a real trip back to those early sludgey days, superb.
Across the whole album, the sludgecore sound has been dialled back a bit, in fact to these ears there is a hint of a Gallows feel on some songs. The production is superb, courtesy of Parlour Studios’ Russ Russell, sounding heavy and dense but with a superb clarity as well. The guitars of Jay Thompson and Jim Palmer are in your face whilst bassist Dave Thompson’s sound rattles your teeth. There may not be any Mike Portnoy-esq flashiness from the destroyer of drums, Gordon Morrison, but he belts them good and proper, totally underpinning the whole Speedhorn sound. And the vocals of Frank Regan and John Loughlin are as good, strong and scary as ever, giving you a feeling that you wouldn’t want to meet them on a dark night (although they are the nicest guys in reality!) And these songs just scream to be played live.
Speedhorn have returned with a brilliant album with more than enough to please old school fans and plenty to entice new ones too.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to get ‘horny once again!!