Ramming Speed’s No Epitaphs (Prosthetic Records) an album from a band so unapologetically thrashy that their records would be better sleeved in a leather jacket that reeked of weed. It’s the kind of music that takes you back in time, 1986, to be exact. Grindcore, black, and death metal were still in the prototype stage so thrash was the king of the extreme metal hill. The beer soaked apex capped by stellar offerings like Peace Sells… but Who’s Buying? and Reign in Blood.
But that was almost 30 years ago. New subgenres emphasized further break-neck speed and lower guitar tunings. In 2015 thrash metal may no longer reign supreme, but it’s still got fire in the belly as proven by both the veteran (Machine Head) and young (Sylosis, Skeletonwitch, et al) alike.
Ramming Speed are on a mission to prove that they belong in that new echelon of thrash elite. The challenge for any young band in this particular style is how to make music that can both channel their forefathers and still sound vital and poignant. Otherwise you’re just a bunch of blokes in vests trying to relive the eighties.
Right from the onset Ramming Speed live up to their name and more often than not hit the bullseye. ‘No Foregiveness in Death’ is a storm of Jonah Livingston kick drums and fierce shred from guitar the guitar tandem of Kallen Bliss and Blake Chuffskin. ‘Beasts of Labor’ sounds like the mean offspring of Metallica and Revocation that’s been raised on Mountain Dew and neglect.
But Ramming Speed also have some death metal in their genetic makeup as ‘The Life we Choose’ features some kinetic blastbeat bursts. And then you have ‘Truth to Power’ which has straight up needle in the red moments that would make Napalm Death proud.
While it has the occasional lapses (‘Super Duty’ is very much paint by numbers) No Epitaphs is an admirable and no frills metal record. However the disclaimer here is that if you’re the type that’s turned off by thrash metal’s lack of progressive tendencies or hates Dimebag Darrell you’re gonna have a bad time here. But if you’re the guy who shouts “Slayer!” during any metal show or public gathering then strap in and take the ride.