Reviews, interviews, articles, and other blather about music from the mind of Yugoboy

Monday, December 7, 2015

Ramming Speed - No Epitaphs

Ramming Speed
No Epitaphs

Ramming Speed, an appropriate appellation for this outfit, cranks out some truly tasty thrash tracks instrumentally reminiscent of the best of the late 80s and early 90s.  The guitars crunch and munch their way through the eleven tracks of No Epitaphs sounding for all the world like the love children of Slayer, Metallica, Annihilator and Laaz Rockit.  Only when the singer contributes his incoherency does the album break down.
Seriously, the instrumental riffage of the guitars, bass and double-bass attack drums feels as fresh and awesome as the first time I cracked the plastic wrap of M.O.D. or Anthrax.  These guys can easily stand on their own in any battle of the bands with any of the major or minor metal outfits.  The guitars get solos to go along with their rhythm, and anyone who's read my reviews knows that's a big ol's plus in my world.  The drumming is fast and furious without being a straight-up meth trip; the tempo and variety show Jonah Livingston's talent as much as his ability to keep time with a hummingbird.  Ben Powell's bass keeps up and doesn't interfere; it contributes without distraction, but the contribution is as important as anything else anyone else in the group does.  Just because Kallen Bliss and Snake Chuffskin (that has got to be a stage name) shine brilliantly out front as guitarists, and Livingston kills it on drums, doesn't mean that Powell could be easily replaced.  This is a tightly-wrapped whole that needs his excellence.
The vocals seem to fit the music, but the incoherency of the singing detracts from the awesomeness of the rest of the album.  I can't get past it, unfortunately.  Exodus, Megadeth, Metal Church and the other founding gods of thrash didn't just shove metal beyond the doom of the 70s and the glam of the 80s.  They all had something to say and made sure you could hear it.  The back of the throat scratchy caterwauling of Peter Gallagher contributes very little to the record except to keep it from being an instrumentally virtuoso performance.  I can see my self listening to this record a few more times, but it won't ever enter my regular rotation because of this, and it's a damn shame, because this record - aside from the vocals - is among the best of the year.  I cannot say enough good stuff about the musical side of this band and album, because this is a superior collection.
That said, I gotta say, my best friend in high school will love this record.  He early on embraced vocalists like this, and the subsequent black metal movement that followed.  He, and those of you like him, will be all over this album and will be telling me how full of crap I am.  You'll all be wrong, but you'll still love this disc.

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