Crossing the Thrashold: Ramming Speed

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You vagabonds want more thrash? Well here’s some thrash, and it’s going to thrash you so hard, you’ll wish it didn’t thrash you so hard. Full steam ahead with Ramming Speed.

I’ll readily admit that there are other writers ’round these parts that are much better informed about thrash than I, so I was surprised to find that very few people actually knew about Ramming Speed. The quintet has been globe-trotting for years now, building steam behind their two full-lengths and multiple EPs and splits with relentless touring. However, Ramming Speed have finally reached a certain level of stability, relocating to Richmond, Virginia and working with Kurt Ballou at GodCity Studios on their third full-length, No Epitaphs. So what can you expect from this hard-working young thrash band on their latest effort? To answer that, let’s look at where they’ve been.

Formed in Boston in 2005 and originally named Despotic Robot, the band gained attention for its work ethic and for combining elements of thrash, grind, and NWOBHM. However, Ramming Speed’s first full-length, Brainwreck, was a pretty by-the-numbers thrash release. The rhythm is driving and the riffs are headbanging (courtesy of guitarist Kallen Bliss), but it definitely sounds anchored in the thrash revivalism that was happening back in 2008. Pete Gallagher’s vocals especially sound more unpolished and restrained on this release. However, the punk and crossover influence of more established acts like Suicidal Tendencies and M.O.D. bleed through the cracks in the form of d-beat rhythms and unpredictable breaks, driven by drummer Jonah Livingston. Check out “Lazer Assault” to hear that cool DIY vibe. Brainwreck is definitely a serviceable, if not brilliant note in the re-emerged thrash scene and should appeal to fans of the more hardcore side of the genre.

The band’s second full-length, Doomed to Destroy, Destined to Die saw the band increase their sonic palette considerably with the addition of guitarist Snake Chuffskin (of Concussion) and bassist Ben Powell (who replaced guitarist Ricky Zampa and bassist Derek Cloonan, respectively). Listening to Doomed to Destroy, Destined to Die gives the impression that the band finally melded into a cohesive unit with a unified creative vision. This equates into an increased focus on the crossover side of the thrash equation for this release, not dissimilar to fellow thrashers Iron Reagan. In fact, many of the tracks, such as the blistering “Gorgon’s Eye” have an almost grindcore energy to them, with rhythms alternating between double-bass assaults and crusty d-beats with nary a hitch. The riffs continue to bring the mosh and are enhanced by a new, more guttural vocal style. Overall, Doomed to Destroy, Destined to Die sounds like a band proving itself and finding a good balance between its influences and its own vision. Check out the title track to hear what I mean.

No Epitaphs sees Ramming Speed fully embracing the crossover thrash style while injecting new elements to craft a, dare I say it, fun album. Ramming Speed have always written catchy, headbanging tracks, but with their new-found stability and confidence, they seem to have stepped up the party mosh ethos on this album. Everything sounds bigger and brighter, accentuated by the band’s adventurous guitar acrobatics. Tracks like “The Life We Choose” feature huge dueling guitar harmonies and massive riffs, while “Beasts of Labor” sports one of the slickest of all six-string techniques, the too-oft neglected divebomb. “Horns of War” even has a guest solo by Kurt Ballou himself. However, the guitar theatrics aren’t the only parts of these songs that will get you smiling and spin-kicking in your garage. Almost every song features punky gang vocals, and it’s nearly impossible to not find yourself shouting “Brick by brick!” during the chorus of “Walls”. However, don’t think for a second that the band has lost its edge. The sewer-scraping grind vocals return, and they’re used to terrific effect to accentuate that warm bass and buzzsaw tone. In the end, No Epitaphs improves on everything its predecessors did and manages to make it still sound fun. Check out the two already-released tracks below and try not to headbang.

As I said, the band has a number of other releases worth tracking down, most notable of which is the Tankcrimes split with A.N.S. You can download that for any price over at Bandcamp (or stream below). Go give Ramming Speed a like on Facebook and tell them the Toilet said “‘Sup.”

No Epitaphs comes out on September 4th via Prosthetic Records.

(Photo VIA)

  • EsusMoose

    Ramming speed is fantastic! Throwing this in so folks don’t need to look for it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDOPk9pkYoM

    • Vote for Jeb

      It’s the second track on that bandcamp stream.

      • EsusMoose

        shh that’d involve listening to not wall

    • I like the part where it goes “WIDDLY WIDDLY WIDDLY”

      • EsusMoose

        I like the group vocals so I can feel involved and not sad and alone in a room.

  • KJM

    Glad to see Boston represent in a big way.

  • These guys are great. W. is great. Life is great.

  • Howard Dean

    Forgot this piece of news during my info dump yesterday morning:

    Invictus Productions is finally set to release the repress of Bolzer’s (“it’s pronounced ‘BELT-ZER'” –JAG) Roman Acupuncture demo on CD. Preorders are available now on the Invictus web store, and are expected to ship on or around September 14th. This repress has been in the making for over a year now. Big news! The demo was originally released on Cd-R in a press of 50 (it has since seen a vinyl release), so that pressing ain’t even possible to find at the moment. Enjoy!

  • I’m a sucker for anything Kurt Ballou related. Checking No Epitahs now.

    • Dagon

      I think it sounds great, especially the leads and drums.

      • I like that the vocals aren’t of the lulzy thrash variety. Makes everything else sound more powerful.

        • Dagon

          I think I know what you’re talking about.

          Don’t skip on A.N.S. From the split, their guitars please me in a way few others do. It’s bananas.

          • I think I like this one better. It’s got a southern rock vibe happening.

  • Heroic Iron Boogers Of Doom

    Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice! Production could use a little work, though.

    • Vote for Jeb

      Which album? I think Kurt Ballou generally does a good job.

      • Heroic Iron Boogers Of Doom

        The Lazer Assault song.

        • Vote for Jeb

          There are four albums listed here.

          • Heroic Iron Boogers Of Doom

            Getting to the others in a sec. Playing the new Jakub Zytecki CD for the 20th time in a row first.

  • Super Nintendo Chalmers

    *starts a pit*

    *knocks over all of the lockers*

  • Dagon

    Doomed To Destroy Destined To Die was sitting on my spotify recommendations for months and I never gave it a chance. Glad you’re writing about them so I can finally correct that.

    Judging from the track you posted and the first Ballou produced track, it was a definite step up. But I’m a fanboy conditioned to like his sound.

    Regarding the vocals, though, I think I actually like their early style better. The rest of the band improved dramatically though. Great article!

  • KJM
    • Heroic Iron Boogers Of Doom

      TENDIEEEEEEEEEEEEES!

    • BEARD OV GREAT DAWKINS

      Dang

      • Howard Dean

        *Dank

        FTFY

    • I legitimately wouldn’t know what to do if something like that was placed in front of me. Do you smoke it? Doe you eat it? Snort it? Plz help

      #toiletconfessions

      GL

      • I think it’s charcoal.

        • It kinda looks like “puppy chow”, i.e chex mix covered in powdered sugar. But what do i know

          • eating food w/ hash oil is a completely different ballgame than smoking it. which is why i’ve vowed never to eat it again!

          • KJM

            I’ll take your share.

          • Noted.

          • more beer

            Edibles in general are a whole different game. You really need to figure out your dosage. For me about 50 mgs. is all it takes. I`ve eaten too much and felt like I was tripping.

          • Vote for Jeb

            Puppy chow is one of my favorite snacks in the word #dubfax

          • Cosigned. It is so good that I feel guilty eating almost any amount of it.

          • Vote for Jeb

            But once you start, you can’t not dig in because it’s all over your hand already.

          • …then you have to lick you fingers. But you can’t, because you just shook your Uncle Joe’s fat, sweaty hands. *saunters away quietly*

          • Vote for Jeb

            Embarrassing high school story: My friend’s older brother who was two grades above me made puppy chow out of actual dog food and gave it to me and some friends.

            It didn’t taste awful.

          • Moral of the story: never under estimate the power of sugar to mask what is really going on.

          • Vote for Jeb

            Haha, I just noticed I typed “graves” not “grades”. Freudian metal slip?

          • Don’t worry about it. I mistype words ~5 times a day. Proofreading my comments would really help my legitimacy ’round these parts, lolz.

        • Heroic Iron Boogers Of Doom

          I thought it was tendies, fish nuggets or jalapeno poppers.

      • KJM

        It’s buds dipped in hash oil rolled around in kief. You smoke it. I imagine this jar would last me a while.

        • Todays Tom Sawyer gets high on you!

          • off-topic, did you see CT-12 write about Ningen-Isu? i’ve been digging their latest album on YouTube, and i think you’d like it too. search for Ningen-Isu – Burai Houjou and there’s a user with all the individual tracks

          • Interesting, I am listening now. Thanks! In return you must listen to the new Trivium song 4 times. kthankslolz

          • i will give it a shot. for GL!

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            That’s not a fair deal.

          • bartering has work for centuries. but political shills suppressing the “fake” U.N duracell batteries. flying pancakesmaider. So yeah.

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            McNulty is giving you some valuable stuff, and you are giving hima piece of poop. Is that fair? No it ain’t! McNulty is being fooled by the rich again!

          • ooookay, i’ve listened to it once (Ungtil the World Goes Cold) and that’s all i could muster because: that was 10x worse than i could have envisioned. the music industry spent millions of dollars over a decade to leave that kind of aggro-alterna rock back in the 90’s where it belongs!!! u dig?

          • I dig, yes. But I am a sucker for anything they do.

          • see this is where you and i must choose a different path. if a band that i loved so much (for instance, Nile) made an extreme change in artistic direction as Trivium has done, i’d end up feeling betrayed by them, rather than excited for the change! i think we have a new W Think Tank Topic at work here…

          • I am stoked for the new Nile. It is surely gonna be good!

          • i have a pre-release copy, it’s WONDERFUL. @disqus_z365ftF9GZ:disqus would be happy to know that they ditched the production style found on At the Gate of Sethu…

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            It’s bad right? I know it is. Like every Nile album ever.

          • well hey, we had like 20 minutes of agreement!

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            That’s more than I usually have with people.

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            Thank the Gods! There’s still hope for you McNasty!

          • Sir Tapir The Based :]

            Huh? Wow! I actually like something you like! This is a great day to be alive!

          • Dude this is really good. It is interesting, obviously the vocals are in another language, but much like metal vocals (not entirely understandable) it just doesn’t matter! And it is on iTunes, sweet!

          • CT-12

            Nice man, I’m glad you liked it! I fucking love that album. Starts out all Melvins-y, goes to Sabbath, goes to Maiden, etc, etc. Very well rounded, stoked for a new album to come out. Only thing that sucks is that their shit is really hard to get ahold of if you don’t live in Japan 🙁

      • more beer

        That is some next level smoking there. It is not for beginners.

    • Óðinn

      • KJM

        Oh this is perfect. So dank.

      • tigeraid

        DAAAAANK.

    • more beer

      I have smoked that before. Not that brand but the same thing with a different name. It is no joke.

      • KJM

        I imagine it isn’t. Even the Purple GSC on it’s own is excellent.

        • more beer

          It is also very expensive. Depending on the strains used it can be 40 or 50 bucks a gram. Too rich for my blood.

          • KJM

            Yeah, that’s something I would get as a special once-a-year treat.

          • more beer

            My buddy gets it. With rewards at the dispensary he goes to. So he smokes it with me when he has it. The only reason he even gets it is it`s free after so many purchases.

  • Dagon

    Guys, the split is like finding out your crush has three boobs: awesome.

    • you posted this at 10:37AM. we can use this info to calculate how long it takes KJU to reply with an embed…

      • Dagon

        Hahahaha keep me posted.

  • Waynecro

    I have a difficult time enjoying thrash in general. Something about the overall sound of the genre just kind of irritates me (bass and vocals in particular). I used to like thrash, but I lost interest at some point. Probably when I got sober and stopped having fun. Or maybe I’m just bitter because the dudes from Impaled are too busy with Ghoul to write new Impaled material. Meh. The song “Doomed to Destroy, Destined to Die” is pretty killer, though.

    • Hans Müller

      someone re-release Mondo Medicale at least. would be a start.

      • Waynecro

        The band recently rerecorded The Dead Shall Dead Remain (and titled it The Dead Still Dead Remain), which is pretty sweet. But I’d really like to hear some new material. Impaled fuckin’ rules.

  • This band rules, glad to see you sharing them!

    • Vote for Jeb

      Hail, warrior.

  • Óðinn

    Thank-you W.