Ravager – The Third Attack (Iron Shield Records)Friday, 25th June 2021
Settling in a stable lineup one year after formation, German thrash act Ravager are up to the critical third album stage with the accurately titled The Third Attack. Having previously reviewed the two earlier records for this very site, the ability to assess, compare, and contrast the progress of this quintet is key. They assemble a host of North American influences along with a bit of crossover flair, while also injecting the finesse, gallop, and pop that European musicians seem to have ingrained from the start of picking up an instrument in the metal realm.
The opening instrumental “Intruders” is a 2:18 blitzkrieg of winding rhythms and solid mid-tempo transitions – including some interesting melodic twin harmony twists. From there the stage is set for Ravager to display their knowledge, talent, and intricacies within the thrash genre – gang-style vocal patterns, rapid fire, raspy main vocals, relentless, go for broke rhythm section work as well as the key musical shifts that cause massive crowd swells in the pit. Circular, galloping riffs penetrate “Back to the Real World” – while singer Philip Herbst speaks of the love of drinking and sharing in the passion of live concert action ‘banging in the front row’ for all its worth. An air strike signals the speed mania of the title track – another vaulting number with some supplementary ‘odd’ voices as the fills astound, the precision of guitars tight enough to suck the air dry similar to the best work of early Testament or Evil Invaders. Time to time the band provide those segments of melodic control and catchiness – the opening sequence of “Beyond Reality” as well as the moody serene to progressive licks/tricks for the eight-minute plus closer “Destroyer” that reminds people of early Metallica or Iron Maiden two of the key standouts in this regard. And it appears the monster from the previous record Thrashletics makes a return appearance, in a sci-fi scenario with cool color combinations to take in.
As stated before in previous thoughts on their discography, Ravager probably will not be considered ‘cool’ or ‘hip’ to those that look for something special in their thrash albums. The Third Attack gets the job done though – a healthy serving of energy, sophistication, and aggression in songs that succeed because of the passion and knowledge of the genre that matter most to this band.