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Ranger - Shock Skull

Shock Skull
by Michael "MettleAngel" Francisco at 29 April 2014, 1:13 PM

Those knights of darkness RANGER from Finland are soon to release their second (EP) a venomous 7” called “Shock Skull”. I sampled a few of their other songs on YouTube and realized that they are frenetic, slapdash Speed Metal with a hint of blackened Thrash influences. Think BULLDOZER meets EXCITER, WHIPLASH meets AGENT STEEL, SACRED REICH meets HELSTAR or PROTECTOR meets RAZOR. In fact, they have quite a great deal in common with their countrymen SPEEDTRAP.

Slipshod guitar grinders Jaako and Mikael are not trying to be professional, but they are talented, as the plenitude and myriad of solos suggest. Like newer acts IMMACULATE from Sweden or RAZOR FIST from Wisconsin, the determined Dimi risks it all to employ those high falsetto screams, intrigued by the style of  Katon from older HIRAX, or Eric from FLOTSAM, or Tom's startling violent scream in SLAYER.

Speaking of SLAYER, you can download the new song “Implode” for free. Lucklessly, it is more of the same “God Hates Us All” down-tuned simplicity, and certainly not the return to the classics they have promised. This leads us filled with obstipation, yearning for more. Hopefully as Hell awaits, Hanneman will haunt the chapel of aspiration with Kirk Hammett contributing, such that one can only hope for a better haven of songwriting, as Jeff's absence is truly felt.

This is precisely why acts like RANGER enter the combat zone with full Metal gear, and show no mercy. “Shock Skull” begins just as the bell tolls with a death knell and the lightning strikes. Then the needle lies dormant for a second, then scrapes while Dimi vehemently vociferates. Then the sonic scolding begins: a skull smashing, bashing, thrashing  enlivened feel powered by filthy guitar licks, sordid heaps of hook upon hook, and sheer terrorized skin shredding. My tortured skull splits with each treacherous note, and these speed protectors seldom slow down, if only to perform a sloppy solo here and there. It is as if they are taken by force, with a touch of deadly steel, and a new age is dawning with the “Omen Of Doom”.

Obviously they are not paragons of perfection, and the muddy production emphasizes this. They sound like a vicious garage band, hellbent on destruction. Both songs are expositions of melodic, gritty, waste and warped definition, as if the tape decks need to be cleaned, and the needle replaced, and the midnight musicians need to sober up, if only to stay in tune for a minute or two.

The battle filled belligerence and baneful supposition serves it purpose, but also leave me wanting more. Why only two songs, when their last effort included five tracks? Here is hoping for longer range efforts from the stoned RANGER; with less argon sense, and uniform performances which unsheathe that for which hopefully RANGER will home in on in their future endeavors.

3 Star Rating

1. Shock Skull
2. Omen Of Doom
Dimi Pontiac – Vocals / Bass
Jaako Hietakangas – Guitars
Mikael – Guitars
Mikko Turhapuro – Drums
Record Label: Ektro Records


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