Ranger - Speed & Violence
Spinefarm Records
Speed Metal
10 songs (36' 54")
Release year: 2016
Spinefarm Records
Reviewed by Andy

Finland's Ranger carries on their quest to restore speed metal with their second full-length, the appropriately-named Speed & Violence. Having been quite impressed with Where Evil Dwells, I was looking forward to this one, and while I can't say they've made any leaps forward in terms of musical evolution, perhaps that's not something we would have wanted anyway. For Speed & Violence is leather-jacketed thrashing all the way through, a throwback to an era of the early 80s where kids influenced by a venomous concoction of NWOBHM and punk rock were playing a proto-thrash that hadn't quite grown away from its roots.

As an unabashedly retro act, Ranger throws the entirety of the 80s speed metal experience at the listener, without discrimination as to which portions work better in the modern day than others. Vocalist Dimi perfectly nails the hoarse, slightly breathless growl of that genre, punctuated by screams that are more like squawks and answered by punk-style chorus shouts from the rest of the band. The two-guitar attack of Without Warning starts out with an intro that would do any Motorhead-influenced guitarist in his late teens proud, but Ranger takes what was always a rather primitive style to the level of high art. It's physically impossible to resist headbanging to something this energetic, and the songwriting, while never stopping for any introspection (how could it, on an album like this?), continues to be excellent, pairing brute hammerings like Shock Troops with more melodic and complex items like the last track on the album, Last Breath.

As in the previous album, the lyrics are no less reminiscent of Reagan-era speed metal than the screaming thrash solos. A confused mess of cheesy Satanism and violence that would find expression on a rebellious middle-schooler's Pee Chee folder, their ridiculousness is a perfect fit for Dimi's dated 80s screams, which he happily indulges in at every opportunity. I'd compare them to Gama Bomb, brothers from the same family of high-quality 80s thrash celebration, but while Philly Byrne's band is a comedy act, Ranger does the whole thing with a poker face and gets away with it. Speed & Violence lives up to its name, providing children of the 80s and metal newcomers alike a heaping dose of good friendly violent fun.

Killing Songs :
Andy quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Ranger that we have reviewed:
Ranger - Where Evil Dwells reviewed by Andy and quoted 87 / 100
Ranger - Shock Skull reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
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