posted on 11/2008 By:
In the ever-increasing crowd of throwback thrash bands, Ramming Speed (formerly known as Despotic Robot) admittedly do little to stand out from the crowd, aside from naming one of their songs “Shane Embury Is The Brad Pitt of Grindcore” and throwing in the odd blastbeat or growled vocal into their unrelentingly 80’s sound and style. Then again, this is thrash, so there’s only so much a band can do to shake things up. If an outfit can write a bunch of catchy licks and play a ton of skank beats, then chances are you’re going to end up with an album that is at the very least good for an enjoyable headbang. And Brainwreck, a thirty-minute rush of pure punk-fueled thrash goodness, is exactly that.
While there’s little to elevate this beyond the realm of “nostalgia metal,” I’ll give Ramming Speed credit for writing a couple of very original-sounding riffs that stand out amongst the onslaught of Vio-lence and Overkill worship and hint at greater things to come in the future for this band. The opening melodic riff of “Lazar Assault,” which almost brings the Allman Brothers to mind with its Southern-tinged twin-guitar work, is brilliantly penned and makes the whole first third of the album stand out, while “Immigrant Song” incorporates some broo-tal grooves that sound like death metal channeled through Municipal Waste. The musicianship is also more than competent. An organic, old-school drum tone and some energized shouting by vocalist Pete Gallagher add greatly to the intensity of the riffs, although the aforementioned blastbeats are rather sloppy and sound ill-fitting (though they are used sparingly). A decidedly retro-production job highlights the guitars perfectly but provides the other instruments with an ample amount of heft, so thumbs up there as well.
There's no doubt that Ramming Speed show some promise here. If you’re a thrash fan and dig the genre’s resurgence in popularity in recent years and the bands that got it there, by all means, pick up Brainwreck and have a blast. I confess that I've been a little burned out on all these revival projects lately, but that doesn’t mean that Ramming Speed aren’t a talented young band, or that their debut album isn’t a damn good listen.
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