Ültra Raptör – Tyrants (Fighter Records)Monday, 15th November 2021
Embracing the wild chaos and insanity of speed/heavy metal and themes of fantasy, sci-fi, and old-school American comic books, Canadian band Ültra Raptör came into existence (umlauts and all). Especially entertaining songs about ‘Cadillacs and dinosaurs’, the group issues their self-titled debut EP in 2018, shuffling a couple of members in the interim to arrive at this Tyrants album on Fighter Records. You already know you will be taking a trip to another realm based on the vibrant cover alone – a volatile scene with a dinosaur atop a pyramid as scantily-clad females run to save themselves from the danger taking place.
The platform for much of this material takes a hefty dose of German-style speed riffs, pounding double kick tempos, gang-like vocals (especially during the choruses), twisted lead runs of a slightly melodic to shred variety, and adds a bit of North American traditional charm to satisfy those fist waving, denim and leather masses. Early Running Wild, Rage, Grave Digger seem to factor heavily into the axe playbooks of rhythm guitarist Nick Rifle and his lead guitarist compatriot Criss Raptör – check out the tasty mid-tempo chord progressions and speedy licks for “Gale Runner” and “Cybörg-Rex”. The forceful bellow from singer Phil T. Lung along with his unique paint-melting screams at odd times may not necessarily place him in the Dio/Dickinson/Halford pantheon, but he certainly gives the band another edge that keeps things exciting, as “An Offering to the Tyrant” and “Caustic Shower” showcase his manic, commanding nature. And for those who love a bombastic concluding track full of twin-guitar harmonies, galloping musical parts and a space battle ending, enjoy “Spacefighter (442 AlphaClass Pegasus SubC35.2)” in all its 5:32 glory.
Ültra Raptör reminds metalheads that the genre can be musically exciting as well as propel you out of reality into an alternate universe. Tyrants hopefully will be just the beginning of a successful and productive career for these Canadians – and this scribe can’t wait for the next collision of the past, present, and future.