Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Ranger - Knights of Darkness (EP)

It seems that there are a huge amount of young bands coming out now that give a huge nod to the old school in the music they create. Some of it is not that great but the majority of it that I've heard is actually really good. They may not be re-inventing the genre with new and innovative ideas but they are giving a fresh young spin on an old school metal. Finland's Ranger is one of those bands and I just happen to find them mentioned on Fenriz' Band of the Week Facebook page. Upon further investigation, I found their 2013 EP entitled Knights of Darkness and was pleasantly surprised at the sheer aggressiveness of this speed metal band's music. They remind me of old Exciter in a way and this EP did not disappoint in the slightest.

This is a short five song EP but starts off in the right direction with the song "Ranger." What we have are crushing speed metal riffs and solos. The vocals sound more like thrash style rasps and screams. The riffs really do make this song as they pummel you into submission by forcing you to bang your fuckin' head unmercifully. The solos are fast and massive. There is some melody here and there some dual leads but mostly this is speed and more speed....and not flower metal speed but pure speed metal. The lyrics are a tad cheesy but they work with this kind of music. "Touch of Death" starts of with some inhuman screams over top of huge riffs. This song is lightening fast and the solos are so good. The drummer is a beast as he just pounds the fuck outta the drums. Two songs in and I need a fuckin' neck brace!

After a rest for my neck and a shot of oxygen, I prepare to get my ass kicked again as the rest of the EP does not let up at all. You have "Steel Dawn" and "Supreme Evil" that continue the beating with their monster riffs and lightening fast solos. The vocalist could break glass with his screams. But these guys are not a one trick pony because the last song on the album, which is the title track, isn't the pummeling speed fest that made up the earlier songs. This song actually starts off anthemic with less speed but more emphasis on a crushing main riff. The soloing on this song is just godly as the song picks up speed as it goes along finally getting to break neck (literally) speed. Once again the singer's screams are earth shattering. Towards the end it slows down in an epic way as you are left drenched in sweat and your neck broken.

That was one hell of a ride! This album left me in traction. I must also mention the production here since it sounds really old school. It's clean production but not over polished. I'm tempted to say this is an analog production with no tricks or triggers. These guys are a band to be reckoned with. If you like your metal fast and furious then this is the band for you. This is another band I've my eye on because I want to hear much more from these guys. I want to hear a proper album by these guys...even if it kills my old ass!!


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