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Ultra Raptor - Tyrants

Ultra Raptor
by Jesse Lacharite at 17 November 2021, 11:00 PM

Today we'll be looking at Quebec City's own ULTRA RAPTOR.  Following their eponymous 2018 release these Canadian Speed Metallers' regale us again with 2021's “Tyrants”, a bombastic, over the top Thrash-erpiece that puts the pedal to the metal and doesn't look back.  Let's get into it!

You might have heard in the real estate market the phrase “location, location, location”, an obvious nod to the fact that being in the right place, getting exposed to the right people is half the battle.  The same principle is true with music, except in our case it's “production, production, production”.  This type of music demands a high production value in 2021; the end.  The days of making average sounding music are pretty much over, everyone is upping their game and that means you must as well.  It's not the music per se, it's how the music is presented.  Without getting into the nitty gritty, the release sounds a little amateurish from a mix and master perspective and honestly, it hurts the album.  Let's check out some of the music.

“Missile (Metal Warrior)” roars out of the gate with reckless abandon.  The guitars are tight and flying.  Drums stampede in double bass fashion as the bass rumbles on ominously.  This is classic Speed Metal here, all the hallmark elements are represented, and represented well I might add.  It's not easy playing these riffs and licks at breakneck speed, so kudos to the boys for keeping it precise.   Next up is “Cyborg Rex”.

Fist pumping and neck destroying violence emanates from the speakers.  I can appreciate a band with a singular vision.  They aren't trying to re-invent the wheel, they get down to business and make it happen.  “Take Me Back” is another scorcher, the pinpoint accuracy of the rhythm section is spot on.  ULTRA RAPTOR love to pile the “gang vocals” everywhere that's appropriate.  This release is full of idiosyncrasies lifted from the heyday of Thrash, it could easily have come out in '86 and been right at home with the best of them.

“An Offering to the Tyrant” show the band stretching their songwriting skills.  The MAIDEN vibe is palpable, but this brings us to a small, er….delicate situation.  MAIDEN had Dickinson, and well, ULTRA RAPTOR doesn't.  Phil does a credible job but he's the weakest link in the band.  His vocal lines are somewhat uninspiring, bordering on predictable.  You either have to be balls out like early EXCITER, say “Long Live the Loud” era with your delivery or have someone who has the chops to bring the bacon home.  There is no “in between”.

“Nightslasher” explodes into a fury. I think this might be the fastest track on the album (at least so far) and they hold nothing back.  It really is pretty amazing how fast and tight they can keep it.  Let's talk about some of the solos.  Criss does a pretty good job of ripping it up on a fairly consistent basis.  He does a little bit of everything from traditional sweeps to more 80's inspired fair.  My only complaint really was the production of the lead tone, but I've already whined about that so let's get into “Gale Runner”.

This is a pretty killer track, and actually shows the band reaching their true potential.  Vocals were powerful and memorable, guitars driving and drums surging.  This is my favorite track and now I'm a little peeved having seen the bands potential and to a greater extent, it's unrealized awesomeness.  This track kicks ass!

“The Quest for Relics” and “Winds of Vengeance” are two more great cuts, but they aren't quite up to the ferocity of “Caustic Shower”.  I like the intensity and more aggressive vocal approach, I'm definitely feeling the EXCITER vibe here again, and I highly approve.  The release closes out with “SpaceFighter (442 AlphaClass Pegasus SubC35.2)” another blistering affair with a hell of name to type out.  Alright, let's sum up.

This is a solid release but there are issues here.  Songwriting needs to be more varied, there were too many moments of repetition that made the music feel indistinct.  Production needs to be like pristine glass, that's a big one and finally all the performances, while good, need to be great.  Solid outing but could have been a lot better.  For fans of early Speed Metal, Thrash Metal and Traditional Metal.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  7
Production:  7

3 Star Rating

1. Missile (Metal Warrior)
2. Cyborg Rex
3. Take Me Back
4. An Offering to the Tyrant
5. Nightslasher
6. Gale Runner
7. The Quest for Relics
8.  Winds of Vengeance
9.  Caustic Shower
10. SpaceFighter (442 AlphaClass Pegasus SubC35.2)
Phil T. Lung – Vocals
Dick Van Heub – Bass
Tony Bronco – Drums
Criss Raptor – Lead Guitar
Nick Rifle – Rhythm Guitar
Record Label: Fighter Records


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