Ronny Munroe – Electric Wake (Rat Pak)

Thursday, 26th June 2014
Rating: 8/10

Establishing himself over the past decade as the vocalist of power/thrash metal veterans Metal Church, Ronny Munroe also carves out his own brand of heavy/power metal through this solo band venture. His latest album Electric Wake is another 11-song slice of American blue-collar output of effective efficiency, with hooks aplenty and metric ton grooves that live for metal’s boom in the 1980’s.

Traversing a straightforward musical line that contains a lot of power elements and tempos in line with say, Armored Saint, Liege Lord, Riot, and Savatage, yet maintain a street level grit and integrity that Munroe’s been known for, it’s easy to get swept up by the fierce vocal melodies, thick guitar riffs, and ultimate rhythms and double-bass accents. Be it semi-tribal and stair-step oriented for “Turn to Stone” or darker and mysterious through the instant head banger highlight “Ritual Damage” (featuring some cynical cackles and serious high screams that are the best in Monroe’s repertoire), the quintet of musicians travel seamlessly through their original material, full of fire and brimstone for the cause.

Special guests also add their talent to Electric Wake’s overall benefit. Axe king George Lynch lays down a trademark ripping break to the Ozzy-flavored “Ghosts,” while Pamela Moore and Dave Rude (Tesla) be it vocally or through some twin guitar harmonies wave the banner high for “The Others (Long Live Heavy Metal)”, sending reference points in the lyrics to the legendary artists who keep this movement thriving. Plenty of sing-a-long chorus moments, especially in tandem with Paul Kleff and Sean Baker’s riff choices, during the Priest-like anthem “Not You Not Me” or evil closer “United” make this record an instant appealer, yet command attention months and years down the line.

I realize this style doesn’t have the trend appeal of thrash or death, but there are pockets of people worldwide who just need that street level metal that speaks to their anger, frustration, or need to be heard. If so, Ronny Munroe created an ideal platter for you to savor, and should expose Metal Church fans to another side of his talents for the genre.

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