Ravage – The End of Tomorrow (Metal Blade Records)

Saturday, 16th March 2013
Rating: 9/10

On the outskirts of Boston, a young quintet of musicians follow their hearts through rarely known terrain for their territory. In the land of hardcore, metalcore and tribute bands, Ravage dare to dream in colors of tradition, of power, of classic fire and brimstone imagery and an overall sense of melodic memories.

Their second album, The End of Tomorrow obliterates their overseas Karthago Records debut Spectral Rider in terms of production value as local wunderkind knob-twister Peter Rutcho gives this act thick guitar sound, deep punch in the snare and double bass and really pushes vocalist Al Firicano- while adding in new twists to their European and American grab bag of influences.

“The Shredder” for instance pulsates with vengeance from George Bellofatto’s hand and foot speed rampage- the sword crossing effect emphasizing the battle qualities and bringing my head space back to the Forbidden Evil/Forbidden excitement circa the late 80’s. Later on “In Shattered Dreams” reverberates the cultural power strains of classic Running Wild in terms of the dual riff techniques from Eli Firicano and Nick Izzo- slightly emphasizing a thicker rhythmic nature following the chorus a la Iced Earth. Al’s voice has that one of a kind quality- he can muster up the screams and shrieks when necessary, but I believe injects a personality rarely heard in metal singersthese days- almost theatrical in a Lizzy Borden meets Rob Halford manner.

I feel for acts that are caught in the divides between what’s popular and what remains more of a cult type of sub-genre in metal. I’d hate for The End of Tomorrow to stay stuck in the class of Vicious Rumors, Armored Saint or Flotsam and Jetsam- as these gentlemen have great songwriting touch, stellar guitar riffing and solos plus the ability to appeal to more than one audience with their music.

Kudos to Ravage also for covering “Nightcrawler” from Judas Priest’s Painkiller, an album that needs to be in your listening stable to understand what’s awesome about the power of traditional metal. These Americans prove you can release high quality back to basics metal without having to look over the pond to see how it’s done.

www.myspace.com/swwr

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)