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Ruthless - They Rise

They Rise
by Martin Patterson at 26 January 2015, 12:21 PM

Californian band RUTHLESS are back with their first album in nearly 30 years. Their last output was "Metal Without Mercy" (1984) and the album "Discipline Of Steel" (1986). Along with the "They Rise" album the band have also included the "Metal Without Mercy" E.P. as a bonus. "Aggressive US Metal" is how the bands press release describes them and who am I to argue with them.

Even before listening to this album I had to take a second look at the album sleeve. It's a beautifully painted piece of artwork by Bulgarian artist Dimitar Nikolov, who has done a few album covers in the past, most notably of which is the "Hailstorm" album by Ross the Boss of MANOWAR fame. I love the comic book style of this and it perfectly matches the music on offer here. It's the kind of art that really needs to be on a 12" album rather than on a CD to fully appreciate. Great stuff.

"Defender" the opening track is one of the highlights of the album for me. It's a great old school fists in the air head-bangin' heavy metal anthem. I could imagine Rob Halford singing on this one as it has a bit of a JUDAS PRIEST influence to my ear. The intensity drops slightly for "Laceration" as it opens with a short acoustic intro before the main riff kicks in for a more mid-paced song. It was on this track that I first noticed Sammy DeJohn's powerful vocal style reminded me a bit of Phil Rind from SACRED REICH. "They Rise" is another killer track starting with an almost doomy atmosphere. It seems like RUTHLESS have put all the best tracks at the beginning of the album, as the first 5 tracks are great. For me, the album starts running out of steam a bit when we get to track 6, "Time Waits", which is a bit of a change of pace and has a ballad type feel; don't worry we're not talking about BON JOVI type ballads here, it's still Metal, but it's not quite up there with the previous songs.

It's been a long time coming, but RUTHLESS have produced an album they can be proud of. This should appeal to anyone who likes old school heavy metal with an early thrash influence. The style of the band hasn't changed much since the 80's so if you're a fan of the old material you'll not be disappointed.

3 Star Rating

1. Defender
2. Laceration
3. Traitor
4. They Rise
5. Hang Man
6. Time Waits
7. Out Of The Ashes
8. Frustration
9. Systematic Terror
10. Gates Of Hell
11. Metal Without Mercy
12. Bury The Axe
13. The Fever
14. Mass Killer
Sammy DeJohn - Vocals
Kenny McGee - Guitars
Dave Watson - Guitars
Marc McGee - Bass
Jason VanSlyke - Drums
Record Label: Pure Steel Records


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