Out Now

(Spinefarm)

Helsinki’s Ranger may not have been around when speed metal first reared its head but that hasn’t stopped them spearheading the style’s resurgence. The youngsters know how to flick on the afterburners and go for the jugular, as their string of EPs – and last year’s Where Evil Dwells album – demonstrate.

Speed & Violence, unsurprisingly, offers more of the same: lightning riffs, reverb soaked vocals and raw aggression are Ranger’s hallmarks, and they’re evident throughout this opus.

Night Slasher is a particular highlight, with its furious, unhinged attack and proto-thrash vibe, while Satanic Panic is a quickfire slice of leather studded fun, blending early Slayer and Exciter to maximum effect.

What’s not so welcome is the album’s flat, retro production which, in striving for authenticity, robs Mikael Haavisto and Ville Valtonen’s guitars of some of their potency. Still, there’s much to enjoy on Speed & Violence – and it’s pleasing to see Finns injecting vitality and energy into an often sidelined genre.

Richard Holmes