Label: Svart Records - SVR217 • Format: Vinyl LP, Album • Country: Finland • Genre: Rock • Style: Speed Metal, Heavy Metal
Best viewed without Internet Explorer, in x resolution or higher. After re-reading my previous Speedtrap review and noticing words like 'Ultimate Warrior', 'out-of-control bulldozer', and 'ball hairs', I realize I may have let my emotions get in the way of writing a fair and objective review.
This is a leaf in dire need of turning, so what better way to do so than review Speedtrap's debut album Powerdose? This album is like steroids going straight into my asscheek. Raunchy, unambigious speed metal riffs are kindled by fiery leads and solos, on occasion sounding less like guitars and more like revving industrial equipment.
Demonstrated nice and early in the opening track 'Redemption of Might', riffs and leads are played without any inhibition, existing only to widen the gap between your eyelids.
Our friend Jori Sara-aho blusters his way onto Redemption Of Might - Speedtrap - Powerdose mic just as he did in Straight Shooteras effervescent as he is incomprehensible. The lyrics are about as decipherable as the Voynich manuscript, sadly making couplets like "We cry out with thundering force" and "Ride on the winds of the nuclear storm" imperceptible to the mortal ear. But Sara-aho's passionate, if nothing else, even so ambitious as to inject quasi-melodies during some of the passages.
Like I said in my previous review, when I wasn't discussing pubic hair, I was impressed with Speedtrap's ability to appear uninhibited and even juvenile in their insatiable desire for power and speed, all while paying keen attention Redemption Of Might - Speedtrap - Powerdose songwriting and structure.
I'm pleased to see these sensibilities began as early as their debut album, where nearly every song Redemption Of Might - Speedtrap - Powerdose behind the veil of their outrageous peacocking - actually hides painstaking dynamism.
In this way, tracks like 'Out of Time, Out of Line' appear similar to the lead-foot anthems featured in Overkill and Restless and Wildthat are actually deeper than you first think. This may come as a shock, but I don't think this album is the greatest thing ever. After all my salivation is mopped up, I'll admit Powerdose has some issues.
Namely, pacing is on the redundant side, leading to Little Queenie - Chuck Berry - The Collection - 25 Songs stretches of the album becoming tiresome and repetitive. Powerdose attempts to countervail this by making the album a very brisk half-hour.
This may seem short, but it's far longer than it needs to be. On top of this, production is sometimes beleaguered by obscenely loud tape-hiss, very noticeable in 'Battle Cry' Redemption Of Might - Speedtrap - Powerdose during certain breakdowns.
But overall, Speedtrap is good. Describing why is like describing why chocolate cake is good. Why eat chocolate cake? It tastes good. Why listen to Speedtrap?
So that the next person to kick you in the balls will break their ankle. We're dealing with very simple concepts.
The only concept more simple is if a speed metal fan should listen to this album. Then it was on to acts like Metallica and Megadeth, who wrote more sophisticated material, and then later yet it was conflated and conjoined Wrong Man - Deep Purple - Clearly Quite Exceptional various acts in the fields of American and European power metal.
Semantically, I'm sure there are numerous camps who would argue insignificant details back and forth with no clear winner, but though I often throw the term around myself when describing a band's sound, I will not attempt to do so here. That said, if one was to picture some sort of idealized, Romantic notion of what a 'speed metal' record was to sound like, then 9 out of 10 times we might end up with something like Powerdose.
Punk-like chord progressions accelerated to even more exciting levels of abuse. A few of you might recall Speedtrap's Raw Deal EP, which generated a little buzz back inlikely due to the cover art as much as anything else; a clear nod in tribute to Exciter's seminal Heavy Metal Maniac, but attempting to up the ante by bringing a chainsaw to a knife fight. Well played, Finns, and then again, so was Flamingos - Leni Stern - Clairvoyant music, though it was nothing particularly memorable other than some possible signification that we were about to experience a full-on SPEED METAL outbreak.
Well, that sort of happened, and sort of didn't Powerdose is nothing of the sort, really: this is an unadulterated, ridiculous, frenetic accumulation of the inspirations I hinted at earlier. The bastard child between Satan and the old Looney Tunes Roadrunner character. Maniacal, blues-based riffing patterns and self-indulgent squeals supported by lighting powered snares and toms. A front fiend who alternates between some frivolous, charismatic screams redolent of Exciter, and a meaner mid range, both of which mildly reveal his natural accent.
Pummeling strums of the bass guitar that are every bit as energetic as the rhythm tracks, if not often deviating enough that they become interesting. And a vivacious, loud-as-balls production here through which you can hear everything, easily trumping the Raw Deal EP in intense, brick-to-the-face action.
To be honest, I wasn't expecting a lot of variety here, and through about half the cuts, they just race along with abandon, content to leave the listener huffing their dust All the tracks are Hubba Hubba Zoot-Zoot - Caramba - Caramba performed, and true to its central motivation, the album is over in just under a half hour.
Within that span, though, I can't say that a lot of the songs were really so catchy. The riffing is more about legitimacy to the music's roots, and having a good time, rather than building strong melodies or sinister sounding picking patterns. It's a functional, frenzied Summer record spin.
Higher speed dirt than "High Speed Dirt", for sure, and well suited to induce partying amongst the leather bound legions it likely targets. But beyond the nostalgia and ravishing production, the proof of concept by Jove, they've got Redemption Of Might - Speedtrap - Powerdose right!
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