RAGING SPEEDHORN
"Before the Sea Was Built"

(SPV)

01. Everything Changes
02. Before the Sea Was Built
03. Dignity Stripper
04. Mishima
05. The Last Comet From Nothingness
06. Born To Twist the Knife
07. Who Will Guard the Guards
08. Too Drunk To Give a Fuck
09. Sound of Waves
10. Jump Ship

RATING: 5.5/10

"Everything Changes", indeed. After replacing a guitarist and one of their two vocalists, English metal hooligans RAGING SPEEDHORN seem a bit… well… pensive on their new outing. Their formerly hard-charging, tinfoil-biting madman's metal has given way to a muted guitar tone and apocalyptic post-rock brooding — hardly a career change one would expect from the band formerly known for ditties like "A Different Shade of Shit" and "Fuck You! Pay Me!"

To be sure, there are still moments of the old liverish SPEEDHORN spirit that flare up here — "Dignity Stripper" and "Too Drunk to Give a Fuck" maintain the band's old attitude and aggression. But songs like the title track and "Who Will Guard the Guards" stray into NEUROSIS and mid-era ISIS territory, with rollicking midtempo rhythms and chiming, wall-of-noise guitars creating swirls of dense atmosphere. It's not an entirely unpleasant change, although it's hardly the kick in the teeth fans were probably expecting!

"Sound of Waves" is probably the best amalgam of the band's old and new sounds – while the guitars churn and roil, the vocals are still seething and furious, and the whole thing crackles with slow-burning intensity. However, with the rise of this whole ISIS and PELICAN-led "post rock" genre, this sound has already been pretty much beaten into the ground in the last few years. RAGING SPEEDHORN have traded being awesome at their signature bruising roar for being merely decent at a sound done just as well by dozens, if not hundreds, of others. This is certainly a transitional record for the band, and hopefully once the new lineup solidifies a little more, they'll be able to meld the piss-and-vinegar of their earlier work with their newfound love for post-rock dirge a little more effectively.

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