Raging Speedhorn - Raging Speedhorn review


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Band: Raging Speedhorn
Album: Raging Speedhorn
Release date: August 2000

01. Superscud
02. Redweed
03. Knives And Faces
04. Mandan
05. Random Acts Of Violence
06. Thumper
07. Necrophiliac Glue Sniffer
08. Dungeon Whippet
09. Death Row Dogs
10. High Whore
11. The Gush [bonus]
+ Thumper [video]

Rage on a page.

If you have any passing knowledge of the UK metal scene then you will have crossed paths with Raging Speedhorn at some point, having become an omnipresent live force since their reformation in 2014. Having appeared on countless festival and concert bills in the years since, the band have opted for the route of Stockholm syndrome in order to get themselves over with metalheads. Turning the clock back twenty years, it's time to re-open the book on the debut album that saw this beast turned loose on the studio before they became the live staple they are now.

Raging Speedhorn combine the American strand of sludge metal a la Crowbar with the grittiness and bone-rattling strand of UK crust punk bands like Amebix. This confluence of sounds does make for an interesting listen when it clicks, serving as a low-end swinging wrecking ball that will smash and splinter the fence you are sitting on and force you to take a side.

Personally, I find it is when the band lean on their crust sounds with the infusion of sludge and doom sonics that Raging Speedhorn hits its stride; the power inherent in the up-tempo music combined with the heavy as sin sonics makes for a wall of sound that will stop you dead in your tracks and make you pay attention. Tracks like "Thumper", "Superscud" and "Dungeon Whippet" see these elements melded together perfectly to create a slab of metal so strong it could be used as construction material. Even when the band replace the fast tempos with mid-paced grooves it works just as well, with tracks like "High Whores" and "The Gush" becoming earworms.

The band lose all momentum and create a black hole of enjoyment when they drop the tempo further than mid-tempo and sit on their sludge influences rather than their hardcore/metallic leanings. Tracks like "Random Acts Of Violence" and "Death Row Dogs" just drag their feet and lumber along in a disinteresting and boring manner that is a chore to get through at best, punishment at worst. The band sound lethargic and rely on the downtuned power of the instruments to carry the songs rather than using it to add a hell of a low end to strong riffs or grooves.

The musical backdrop is where Raging Speedhorn excel most; featuring a milieu of hardcore riffs and patterns, it is easily to look around what the band are doing and just sit on the guitar work of Smith and Tony Laughlin for much of the album. While the riffs are generic and recycled for the most part, the tone and texture of their presentation does ameliorate this issue to an extent and make them a better listening experience than they otherwise would be.

The biggest gripe and something that ruins what are otherwise ok songs for me are the vocals; Regan and John Laughlin's barks are something that rub me up the wrong way and detract from what are otherwise fun musical pieces for me. Songs like "Dungeon Whippet" are hindered rather than elevated by the pair's vocals over the top of it, at times coming off as random improvised harsh singing that is indecipherable for the most part, though on "Necrophiliac Glue Sniffer" that sounds like a small mercy.

That said, I do have to give them credit on two fronts. First their vocals work brilliantly on "Thumper" and show that there is potential there, it's just a case that it doesn't occur often enough to be a positive rather than a negative. Secondly, there are tracks on here that feature passages where the duo offer up some good and varied vocal phrasing that mixes it up rather than taking the expected route. Songs like "Thumper", "Mandan" and "Superscud" feature moments that change up their approach and will catch you off guard as they take a route you do not expect.

If you want to better acquaint yourself with the band's work before you inevitably cross paths with them along the way, then Raging Speedhorn will give you a good impression of their sound. A competent band with some good ideas floating around, it's the bands inability to truly live up to their potential that leaves them a middle of the road band at best, featuring only moments that will make you sit up and listen before you put your head in your hands and go back to sleep.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6
Production: 7


Written on 06.12.2020 by Just because I don't care doesn't mean I'm not listening.

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