Well, this is a turn up! Raging Speedhorn are back and they're reunited with original vocalist Frank Regan, who is back for his first album with RS since "How The Great Have Fallen", which was released in 2005. This should be good...
Formed in 1998, Raging Speedhorn soon came to prominence in the UK metal scene for their very, very heavy metal. Utilising a sound which was equal parts pounding drums and bass with riff-heavy guitar work, the band would veer between a bludgeoning attack with little let-up to a slow, dense sludgy sound. This was topped off with twin vocalists trading off each other - one singer would do low growls and the other would do high screams. It was a very effective set-up and it worked - up to a point. I say this as a fan and with the greatest respect to the band, but by the third album (the already mentioned "How The Great Have Fallen"), things started to seem a little tired and stale, perfectly summed up in a popular monthly music magazine who in the review of the album remarked that it wasn't so much a band running out of ideas but who only had one idea to begin with. I know that some bands can get away with the old adage "if it isn't broken, then don't fix it" but if we're honest, not every band can. I'll let you be the judge to which bands can and cannot. The 2007 album "Before The Sea Was Built" instigated some changes with a more discordant approach whilst still retaining the heaviness. It was a great idea but the band split up soon after the albums release. We all thought that was it until it was announced the band were to play at the Damnation Festival in 2014 with a reunited Regan - playing only tracks from the first two albums! I'd have loved to see that. They also played Sonisphere that year as well as completed a UK tour. So things were coming together, which has since resulted in this album, apparently financed by a successful Pledge Music campaign. Not sure what that is but I'm guessing it's like Kick Starter. Anyhow, let's have a listen.
1) Bring Out your Dead - Like Randy Quaid said in the movie 'Independence Day', "Hello, boys, I'm BAA-ACK!!!". Slow riffs and lurching be the order of the day as well as a harsh as fuck twin-vocal trade-off. Excellent. All of a sudden, I'm back in 2002 at the height of the band's powers, working a shitty job at *censored on legal advice* who would then go on to sack me when they got wind I needed an operation on my leg. Great times! The only way this song could be improved is with a sample of Eric Idle from "Monty Python And The Holy Grail" asking to bring the dead out...
2) Halfway To Hell - That other weapon in the Speedhorn arsenal, the mid-paced cruncher! Does the job and should go down a storm live. Very nice. Great to headbang to. Nice slow breakdown where the bass can be heard in all it's glory. Then the song sludges it's way out of the building.
3) Motorhead - Right, before we begin I can confirm that this ISN'T a cover of the song written by the dearly departed Lemmy (RIP fella), as I've read a few concerns online that it would be a cover as part of some kind of cash-in attempt. As we know, not everything on the internet is true and I can confirm that the song seems to be more about car racing from what I can hear through the lyrics. It does sound like something Motorhead would write, albeit with less of a rock 'n' roll influence and more of a bludgeoning heavy sludge attack but as far as sentiments go, if this is a tribute then it's certainly a worthy one. Very heavy and excellent.
4) Evil Or Mental - Sounds like my ex. And just like the bitch in question, this song is also a lumbering beast with a huge bottom-end that makes a lot of noise. The only difference is I like this song. So far, indications are that the Speedhorn lads have not so much picked up from where they left off but gone and done a Terminator: Genisys in that they've gone to a point just after the first two and started again, thus completely bypassing and ignoring the third and fourth ones. Except they didn't release any trailers with massive spoilers in them...anyhow, another great song which slides effortlessly into...
5) Ten Of Swords - Honestly, the slide is that effortless it's well hidden. Honestly, this song is so stretched out with the riffs, they really drag them out on this one. Each riff is stretched to breaking point on this song, it's like you can hear them convey anguish. Torturous but a very good song all the same.
6) Dogshit Blues - And we're back into lively territory with some more mid-paced tomfoolery which is bound to get heads banging and necks snapping after a few beers at the live show. Nice breakdown towards the end where it goes into the kind of slow riff that Sabbath would be proud of.
7) Hangman - We're back in Sludgetown. Bit faster sludge than before, but sludge all the same. Just the type of song to unwind to after a hard day at work. Riffs stretched out, drums keeping a steady beat, twin vocals as harsh as they've ever been, what's not to like?
8) Shit Outta Luck - There's a change, we've segued seamlessly from sludge to the mid-paced stuff, which is canny! Sounds like the bar-brawl from hell as we get into a slinky riff right towards the end. It sounds very much like something Kyuss would come out with, which is no criticism as that was a band who knew their stuff.
9) Coming Home - This song nearly gave me a fright as the intro slightly reminded me of that Stone Temple Pilots song which goes "And I'm FEE-LIIIIIINNNN-EE-EENNNNN...". Fuck's it called again? Anyway, this song is setting us up nicely towards the end of the album, bringing us onto the home stretch. Some great guitar work with nice melody bits as opposed to just banging away indiscriminately.
10) Unleash The Serpent - This one is the uber-sludge song, Speedhorn albums usually close on an uber-sludge song. Which is fair enough. Thie vocals on this one are most interesting. For the verses, they're a hoarse whisper which then erupts into a scream during the choruses. The outro is particularlly harsh as the band slows down into a crawl, then a stop, and things rumble out in a trail of feedback and sustain. Sounds like an atomic explosion in there too.
There we go, forty minutes or so of prime UK sludge metal! The only downsides I could hear are...yes, it's pretty much the same as the first two albums with little variety in the songs. It's either mid-paced or sludge. A bit more variety in tempo would have been nice. However, if this is your thing then you cannot go far wrong. It's good to have them back.
7/10 - This is good and well worth a check.
Due to the seemingly self-released nature of this album, it's not available on either iTunes, Spotify or Amazon. However, the bands Facebook Page has a link which leads to their merchandise page, you can get a copy from there.
(Message from Eddie) - Here is a link to the Raging Speedhorn Bandcamp Page where you can purchase the album!
(Single version released in 2015)