Ride For Revenge | ‘Under the Eye’
Occasionally a band arrives on the scene that simply blows the doors clean off your preconceptions.
Filthy Finnish fucks Ride for Revenge appeared on this reviewer’s radar three or four years ago and pretty much redefined what black metal was, is and could be in one fell swoop.
Conventions be damned, this was some of the gnarliest, ugliest, most primitive and bass-heavy shit to come along in some time. It seemed to send a tide of doomed-out slurry sludge against the brick walls of BM orthodoxy.
Throw a healthy fixation with harsh noise and flirtations with ambient drone into the mix and that seemingly fragmented picture starts to shift into some kind of focus.
‘Under the Eye’ is the band third full-length and comes after a bunch of smaller releases. How a band with a sound rooted so deeply in all things simplistic, atavistic and direct can keep producing the goods this far down the line, and more so that they continue to redefine their sound without making any drastic alterations to it, is a marvel.
Opener, ‘For Those About to Kneel’, kicks things off in similar fashion to ‘Ghost Ship’ from last album ‘Wisdom of the Few’, and cleverly sums up what is to be expected over the course of the following forty minutes.
With a title nodding in the direction of the legendary AC/DC, an upbeat and rocking side to the band is more apparent throughout the album than has been the case in the past, making that observation stand true. The intro-piece itself sounds like a message received from outer space on an old transistor radio, warning us not to get too comfy as things are bound to get weird along the way.
‘Second Gate Opened With Power’ gives us our first taste of the treats on offer, blasting our heads clean off with about ten seconds of all-out chaos, in the process laying waste to 99% of bestial metal bands before settling down into more familiar, plodding RfR territory. A killer opening gambit, it shows off their new, improved line-up and a more aggressive production.
Guitarists J Pervertor of Neutron Hammer infamy has been drafted in as a full time member and his rotten tone adds a rather gruesome smear to the upfront bass assault on display.
In fact, the power of the bass has been doubled here shifting the overall sound from a somewhat warm and smothering drone to a body-flattening rumble. The words ‘bulldozer bass’ have never been more appropriate.
It is on second song proper, ‘Prevail in Hell’, that the rock n’ roll influence reveals itself in all its magnificent glory. It’s a pure barnstormer of a track; thick and luscious, vicious and cruel but ultimately a complete stomper that will have your head banging in no time.
‘The Endless Flood’ is cut from the same cloth, ripping along with the similar power and ferocity of a jack hammer.
The lead-solos of J Pervertor on both The Gutter and the Grave and Through reveal his recruitment to be a stroke of genius. His frenzied, sloppy, wild approach call to mind old Slayer by way of Vomitor.
The vocals have always been a highlight with these guys and the bizarre watery effect that bubbles up throughout ‘From Darkness We Ride’ adds a tremendous wash of colour to the pounding darkness of the music.
All this is but a build up the absolute pinnacle of perfection that is the title track. A simple two note riff explodes out of the short rumbling noise interlude, ‘The Hawk’ appears, swinging from note to note like a giant sledge-hammer, the bass and guitar uniting to slaughter eardrums, bust speakers and do untold damage to our poor necks.
At just under six minutes it is one of the longest tracks on offer but doesn’t drag for a second and winds itself down with a distorted garbled proclamation, the words obscured but the sentiment coming across all too clearly; Ride for Revenge are in the house.
Anyone already interested in this oddball bunch doesn’t need to be told as this will already be right at the top of their shopping list but for anyone curious to find out what the fuss is all about, but now really is the perfect time to check them out.
4.3 / 5 – Andrew Cunningham ::: 14/01/11