rangerRising from the underground, Finland’s Ranger are stilling running in top gear giving you their speed/thrash hybrid with no brakes, no love for safety and disregard for what the scene thinks it should be. This is their 2nd album for Spinefarm and it shows the band taking in some NWOBHM influences into their sound, especially on ‘Last Breath’ as the riffs that belt out. The former tracks rely on speed. There’s decent production, its analogue (therefore buy the vinyl version!), but it doesn’t have a massive sense of ambience unless you are in close quarters using headphones or have a proper stereo/equaliser at ear splitting volume.

However, this is far from a negative, personally tracks like ‘Satanic Panic’ (a commonly used track title this year!), ‘Night Slasher’ and ‘Without Warning’ show that with such speed, Ranger have tightened their musicianship and reproduce every note with precision and style. You still get immersed in the energy experienced by previous releases and if you’ve caught them live they duplicate their live stance on record too. The screams make you go ow! There is certainly a fun element to this release.

Like their debut, this is an album that grows with you, unlike their EP and earlier demo material. I wouldn’t expect (or want) them to change too much, although I’d like a touch more rawness in the production. Spine tingling speed and power greet anyone with any soul and love for speed/thrash/traditional metal. The big improvement is the delivery from the musicians themselves.

(7.5/10 Paul Maddison)