15th July 2016
Raging Speedhorn, with a name that was always guaranteed to see them eternally shunned by the mainstream and mass media (and a sound to match), seem to have been around forever. Emerging around the turn of the millennium in the tidal wave of nu-metal, they never really conformed to any genre stereotypes. Abrasive, aggressive and in-yer-face, the chances are they wouldn’t have been at the top of the list for one of the class of 2000 acts you’d have marked out as still being a going concern in 2016. And yet, here they are, one of those bands who won’t go away or die quietly. This is a good thing: after all, why should they? In fact, following their 2008 split and 2014 reformation, they’re as big and nasty and full of bile as ever, and after some heavy touring and some big festival appearances, including Sonosphere, Bloodstock and Damnation, they’re throwing down their first album in nine years. It’s also their first release to feature the first to feature original vocalist Frank Regan since 2005’s How the Great Have Fallen.
It’s got the backing of the fans: they funded it via PledgeMusic, and the band have justified their faith with an album that, however you look at it – or listen to it, which is what it’s designed for – absolutely slays. The density of the guitars is a defining element of the throbbing, chugging riffage which dominates the ten tracks. And the twin vocal assault is utterly ferocious.
If the cover art seems to suggest they’ve gone all mystical shit, well, you’d be half right: ‘Dogshit Blues’ and ‘Shit Outta Luck’ cover the excrement side of things, if not the mystical, and if the two lengthier workouts (‘Ten of Swords’ and ‘Unleash the Serpent’, both of which clock in well past the six-minute mark) hint at a more prog-influenced twist, it’s the kind of progressive metal in the vein of Neurosis, mingled with Sabbath-esque riffs filtered through the sludgy stylings of Melvins.
In the main, Lost Ritual is uptempo and sharply focused, with the snarling ‘Motorhead’ and pulverising ‘Dogshit Blues’ exploding with fury and ‘Comin’ Home’ a gnarly, brawling bastard of a song. It’s one hell of a comeback, and a purebred monster of an album.