Sunday, July 28, 2013

Ranger-Knights of Darkness


After 3 demos, the last of which, the 3-track "Combat Metal", was actually released earlier this year, Helsinki-based Ranger are ready for the big time with "Knights of Darkness". Having been at it since 2009, and reportedly going by the name of Turbo early on,  this four-piece Finnish band stirs up some serious speed metal shit on this 5-track MLP!  Lead vocals come courtesy of Dimi (aka Dimi Pontiac) who also handles bass duties here with Ranger. Incidentally Dimi also plays bass in the thrash metal/crossover act Forseen...for what it's worth and all. With his shrill, banshee-like (and damn near bat shit crazy!) vocal delivery, Dimi unleashes all kinds of hell while he's on the mic! Even if it sounds at times as if he went out and enlisted Lizzy Borden for vocal training, which is truly a scary proposition, it's not quite that over the top. Thankfully it never reaches the finger nails on a chalkboard level or anything and, in reality, his voice actually gels with the metal on hand here.With dual lead guitars from the pair of Jaakko (Steel Machine, Swallowed, ex Damnation Pride and ex-Deathraiser) and Verneri and pounding drums from Miko (ex-Tornado where it looks as if he actually played guitar there) this 4-piece band thrashes their way through this MLP! Comparisons are fairly easy when it comes to Ranger. First off there's a very distinct appreciation shown for early Slayer. But, since we all love Slayer, it's easy to side-step the copy-cat tag that might be thrown Ranger's way. Especially as Ranger come across as a much more speed metal version of Slayer. Furthermore let's just say we're in an alternate universe where Slayer was first starting out and they had been influenced by the likes of Heathen's Rage, Griffin, Tyrant (the U.S. version), Phantom, Riot, Toxik, later day Megadeth and early Running Wild. Only with Ranger it's a much more straight to the point/go for the throat delivery then any of those influences would suggest. Confused? Don't be. All you really need to know about Ranger is that they sound as if they were forged out of molten lava and custom shaped to play heavy metal! If that idea thrashes your insides then come September, when this 5-track little rocker of an MLP is released, scoop this one up!

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