Imagine if you will in the year 2020 a band not soaked in massive, slick and sterile production and all about brutal, kick-ass riffs. If you can imagine that clearly in your mind, you’ve just conjured up a pretty good visual of Raging Speedhorn. Over 2 decades into their career and having gone through some lineup changes in the last few years, Speedhorn make their down-and-dirty stampeding return with Hard To Kill, following up 2016’s Lost Ritual.
From end to end, Hard To Kill is appropriately relentless, starting with the high-octane speaker buster “Snakebite.” “Doom Machine” sounds like a sludgier combination of Pantera’s “I’m Broken” and “Drag The Waters”, an influence that may have rubbed off on them from touring with Philip Anselmo and The Illegals. “Spitfire” comes off pretty similarly with crushing Dimeian riffing, dipping into Corrosion Of Conformity a la “Seven Days” as well; conversely “Hard To Kill” returns to the balls-out dynamic of “Snakebite”, a contemporary approach to a timeless sound.
“Hammerdown” drags out nice and slow for the guitars to really ring out and slam; the great vocal work by new vocalist Daniel Cook sounds nice and vicious too. “Hand Of God” is a superb vocal showcase too, and “Brutality” definitely lives up to its title with its monumental wall of overdrive. The pounding decimation of “The Beast” brings back the Pantera vibes with a vengeance, trailing nicely into the more modern-sounding “Children Of The Revolution” to top it off.
Hard To Kill is nothing if not a fitting description of its purveyors after hearing their latest full-length release. As pissed off, thick, heavy and unrelenting as it is, some of its dynamics do get a bit repetitive after a while. To their credit, Speedhorn do manage to mix it up after a few tracks and keep it from being totally one thing or the other, solidifying themselves as a band that can and should stick to their guns without being lazy and uncreative. All in all, if you need a good thousand-pound sledgehammer to your eardrums, Hard To Kill is the record for you.