For those unfamiliar with the band Bull Riff Stampede, the best way to describe them to you without letting you hear them is simple – Picture yourself on the front line of a wall of death in a pit but instead of people coming at you, it’s a freight train going full speed. The four piece hail from Nottingham, Weymouth and Bristol and have been described as a new level of hostility. Given the intensity of their debut album, ‘Scatter The Ground’, this one surely promises to tear you a new one. Anyway, here’s a stick, let’s go poke the beast with it and see what happens!
Opening this promising slice of British Thrash is the title track, “Enraging The Beast”. With its subtle start, swelling in volume with an overlaying synth and melodic lick, it quickly shifts into full tilt with a tremendously heavy explosion of Thrash. Pounding drums, deep and booming bass, Cutting guitar riffs and vocals which toe the line between Destruction and Carcass, it’s intense from the go. Sure to create a sea of headbanging and windmilling in the live setting, the rapid paced thrash attack does exactly what you want from an opening track – it grabs you by the throat and makes you it’s bitch, musically saying; ‘From here on out, you are mine!’.
The thunder and intensity isn’t just contained to the live performances of the band nor the first track on the album. Each track is just as intense and heavy. “Mindless Heresy” opens fire with machine gun like bursts, tricky fills and plenty of thunderous double kick all delivered with precision, proving that the execution of this music is anything but mindless, especially with that killer groove laden hook in the chorus section, backing up some tremendous vocal screams.
“Dawn Of Disease” is more modern groove orientated thrash. Mixing the classic riff approach with the right amounts of tone and groove gives a tremendous rhythm sound and the lead work is rather tight too. Vocally it’s less Carcass like and more deep thrash growl, keeping the intimidation factor right up there. Simplistic in structure and delivery, it gets the point across well and the sudden shift with a minute to go into the fast and ferocious style of the previous tracks is a great way to wrap it up!
“4215” has a heavy breakdown feel intro. With a turbulent bassline which rumbles away under stabbed chord chugs, it shifts into a tremendous twisting riff which brings the rest of the band in to hit like a sledge hammer to the ribs. Smashing through everything in its path, the ferocity of the music is phenomenal. The two main vocal styles work well as they trade off and the dramatic lead progressions add some real life to the track along with a sense of urgency. From the wild but controlled bursts of lead, mixing shred with harmony and melody to the full on seismic grooves of the rhythm, this track has so much going on its great!
“Devoid Of Pretension” opts for a classic styled thrash riff opening with some nimble finger-work and swift drum punishment. A full on, high speed audio assault which hits like a cruise missile, it’s one of those tracks where you know it will be an experience live. With a feel which demands action, it would make the perfect foundation for a truly intense crowd. With so much heaviness to it, this is the type of track where you can certainly make a statement and with the blistering leads or the insane rhythm and galloping groove, you know it’s something special!
“Pieces Of Hate” has that classic pedal-tone riff spot in its intro before some real crushing riffs to round it off and when the vocals come in, prepare for raw power. The vocal screams and intense growls match some of those found in melodic death metal and musically, it shares some of the traits of that particular genre. With melodic progressions delivered with intense heaviness and a memorable hook, it builds from the previous tracks and ups the standard of the recording even further.
“Bite The Nail (Reborn)” has a very 80’s classic heavy metal feel initially with the big guitar and drum laden intro but it quickly speeds up. Going from heavy metal to full power thrash metal, it is like the previous tracks – it just hits hard and keeps on going. Angular fills in places which lead to thunderous low end heavy sections work well to up the intensity and the lead lines make these particular moments sound even bigger! The curveball though is the lead section. Adopting that classic 80’s feel again, the big harmony lead sweeps in and really lifts the track before an incredible thrash lead takes over, complete with trade offs and whammy bar theatrics which have direction and purpose to them. Coming off like the bastard love child of Carcass, Annihilator and Megadeth, this is just brilliant!
“Bloodchild” brings the more modern thrash sound with a real heavy emphasis on melodic groove. The relentless drum battery creates a solid backdrop for some epic sounding moments and the fire and venom in the delivery of the heavy as fuck verses is fantastic. Believe me, you have to listen to truly appreciate just how good this album is. The heavy bass orientated groove rumbles on underneath some seriously heavy guitar riffs and you cannot help but bang your head along. It’s almost like someone has taken metalcore, injected it with thrash and got rid of the clichés and other crap what comes with it, leaving a real powerful creation in its wake.
Pounding away with a massive drum focused intro, “System Shocker” explodes to life with some seriously intense and rapid riff work. Much like earlier on in the album, this blistering track obliterates all in its path with the furious riffs which twist and turn at high speed, leaving you disorientated but begging for more, setting up the end of the album rather well.
Bringing us to a close is “Lone Ember”. With its massive wall of sound like intro which crashes into you, it shifts into a real powerful groove laden track with some real tight sounding riffs. With a feel reminiscent of Gojira – that massive and dynamic sound which just smothers all in its wake, this thrash charged groove track closes the album in style. With bone rattling bass and plenty of big sounds, it keeps the intensity which has lasted the duration of the album going. It may ease off a little in the mid-section for a clean and distorted harmony and melody section but any peace which may have been gained there is thrown out the window when the powerful breakdown riff comes in, demanding heads to be banged as the groove powers on with nothing able to stop it.
If this is what happens when you enrage the beast, Bull Riff can keep enraging it! This is fucking fantastic! Full on groove laden thrash, ripe with intensity, heaviness and power. It’s a damn fine release!