Ramming Speed- No Epitaphs

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Ramming Speed’s sophomore effort Doomed to Destroy, Destined to Die was an album I enjoyed listening to back in 2013, as they had transitioned from a fairly standard crossover thrash act to a dynamic group that brought catchy riffs which blurred the line between crossover thrash, traditional thrash, and grind. It was a release that I got a lot more out of than I had initially been expecting, and it was clear that in the process of touring constantly and relocating from Boston to Richmond that these guys had grown considerably as songwriters. For their follow-up No Epitaphs Ramming Speed has largely stuck with the same style as before, but there’s a noticeable emphasis on even more high flying riffs and fist pumping moments than ever before. It may not be a significant shift from what they’ve done before, but when the end result is this much fun and makes you want to run around screaming your head off I don’t think you can really complain too much.

It may seem strange to have the first word that comes to mind when thinking of a metal album be “fun” considering how many other releases I review that are focused on being as dark and desolate as possible. But Ramming Speed nails it, and they’ve really upped the ante when it comes to one high flying riff after another on No Epitaphs. The core sound hasn’t changed that much, as there’s still the regular interplay between thrash, crossover, and straight up grind, but there are even flashier leads and solos this time around to continually grab your attention. It’s as high energy as possible, and there are plenty of riffs that are sure to put a smile on your face and have you pumping your fist in the air. What I’ve noticed about these guys over the years is that they’ve become incredibly tight, as even with the sheer amount of changes between tempos and switchovers from thrash or heavy metal style riffing to blasting grind there’s never any sloppy playing or loss of intensity. Ramming Speed keeps things fairly concise, as No Epitaphs comes in at just over 35 minutes in length, but each of its eleven songs had some particular moment that’s kept me wanting to give the entire release one listen after another. My only real complaint is that sometimes it feels like the production went a little bit too much towards the clean side, as there’s a little bit less grit and grime when compared to the band’s previous efforts, but that certainly isn’t a deal breaker by any means.

Vocalist Pete Gallagher continues to deliver a versatile performance on No Epitaphs, and is constantly switching between lower growls/yells and higher screams that have a much raspier sound. Add in a healthy dose of backup gang vocals and some other ranges that fall somewhere in the middle of the high/low spectrum and you have vocal work that keeps the intensity at a high level for the entire record without falling into a predictable or repetitive pattern. Though I may have found that the instrumentals seemed a bit cleaner on the recording and not as overly prominent as before, the flipside of this is that Gallagher is even more prominent in the mix than before and does his best to sound like he’s going to burst out of your speakers and knock you over. It’s a decent tradeoff, considering that the energy and rawness is spot on to what you’ll find at a Ramming Speed live set, so it’s great to see them get additional emphasis.

For album number three these guys haven’t radically changed their style, instead further fine tuning what worked so well on Doomed to Destroy, Destined to Die. It’s a decision that’s proven to be the right one, as No Epitaphs is one of those records that’s fun to listen to and will amp you up with its dueling guitars, high flying leads and solos, and a healthy dose of all out blasting. Like its predecessor I expect to get a good deal of mileage out of this one, and whereas so many other bands that go for thrash or crossover thrash tend to lose my attention after repeated listens Ramming Speed’s more dynamic approach continues to draw me in again and again.


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