Head On Collision - Ritual Sacrifice
Beer City Records
Thrash Metal
11 songs (39'54")
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Alex

When I finally got the alarm clock to shut up it was showing 6:45 am. I just had 4 hrs of sleep combined, thanks to my little guy having one of those nights which he thankfully does not have very often, and was running late for an important business meeting. I had time left only for the shower, breakfast and coffee not fitting on the schedule. When I jumped in the car the goal was simple – do not fall asleep at the wheel and arrive at the meeting energized, at least on the surface. Picking through the pile of the promos populating my car Head On Collision all of a sudden sounded very appropriate, at least in name, so I gave it a chance. Regardless of the essence of my review, thanks go out to these guys from Saint Louis, Missouri, for making sure I made it in one piece to where I was supposed to go.

Ritual Sacrifice starts out with a gnarly, sort of a statement instrumental Arise from the Wreckage. It gets the juices flowing, warms up the hands and makes Head On Collision intentions clearly known. Folks, you are in for some uncompromising unadulterated thrash. Not the popular nowadays retro kind, with a dash of ‘core, thrown into it, but the one closer in spirit to the way of Dark Angel, Exodus, Artillery and even Master and Slayer, seeing both Head On Collision punky attitude and thick sounding, almost death metal, bottom end. Violence and Aggression is raw and thundering, due in many parts to the bass drum sticking out like a sore thumb, but these riffs are played at teeth rattling speed. Electrocutioner applies the riffs according to the title and manages to drill with the lead, squeezing some melody out. Most of the time the attack is non-stop, the foot rarely coming off the speed pedal. If it isn’t palpable gallop, then it is D-beating speedy groove (Fear). If the barrage is not infectious, it is at the very least headbang inducing.

As explained above, I was predisposed to like Ritual Sacrifice and there is a ton of energy spilling overboard in this band. Yet anointment Head On Collision is not ready for. The part of the trouble is the album does sound like a tribute to Head On Collision favorite bands and early influences. And, further, in the quest of the raw production, as the canons of the genre would dictate, the sound is often mottled, especially in the instrumental department when a longer song calls for it (The Flames of Aggression, title track), burying the solos into thick muck. Pat McCauley barks those commands out reminiscent of the fresher Hetfield (Permanent Damage) or screeches like a banshee (Retaliate) but has a long way to go as a vocalist.

A commendable first shot, which would grow on you, especially if energy is what you are seeking, but this is much more ready for serving as an opening act for the big boys than for its own primetime.

Killing Songs :
Permanent Damage, Fear, Retaliate
Alex quoted 65 / 100
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