Ranger – Speed & Violence (Spinefarm)Thursday, 22nd December 2016
Relentless speed metal comes to order from Finnish act Ranger – another of the younger brigade of European and Canadian acts like Enforcer, Evil Invaders and Skull Fist determined to keep the spirit of the genre alive. Speed & Violence is the follow up to last year’s Where Evil Dwells, elevating their sound from the underground through Spinefarm’s wider promotional/distribution reach. Certain bands never scare you from veering stylistically album to album because they are well-aware of their skill sets and drive home those points time and again. In Ranger’s case, that’s through a pulsating Lemmy-like bass sound, large gang-oriented choruses, twin guitar harmonies that go at Exciter and Agent Steel speeds with Iron Maiden melodic nuances, plus over the top spitfire vocals that contain screams from hell without a moment’s hesitation.
Mikael Haavisto and Ville Valtonen consistently weave in quick hitting twin axe play that makes “Demon Wind” and “Last Breath” prime for air guitar action, both players exemplary at keeping their individual lead breaks catchy, heroic, and in line to the song’s atmosphere. Miko Sipilä’s drumming contains a lot of the lightning quick tom fill parts amid the heads down snare/double bass action that never relents – conjuring up early Dan Beehler and Chuck Profus deliveries for the immense title cut. The reverb and delay meter sets to overdrive for Dimi Pontiac’s venomous vocal charge during “Without Warning” – the band weaving killer riffs and mandatory guitar refrains that keep you head banging for days. The band explores a little more of a mid-tempo opening during the 6:21 “Satanic Panic” – the building riffs and pocket tempo giving a tip of the cap to “Black Magic” / Slayer, plus an extended instrumental section filled to the brim with high trilling and shape shifting riff changes, plus another patented hellish Dimi scream that sends things over the edge.
Analog recording keeps Ranger from sounding to polished and pristine – giving Speed & Violence that skull-splitting attack that launches the material into the solar plexus to ensure maximum sonic satisfaction. Save space on that denim jacket for this band’s buttons or patches – as they belong near the top of the class for current speed metal.