I don't need to consult Dr. Phil to understand why I adore Ranger's "Where Evil Dwells." This type of raw, ravishing speed metal drools with feverish riffs and psychotic intensity through vocals which gnaw with wild tenacity. The skull-splitting madness of "Where Evil Dwells" shows violence on every part, every riff, every bloody second.
Ranger isn't going to shake up the metal world with a startling album of new creative limits. That said, a band with such firmness to slay with speed metal mayhem doesn't need to throw in keyboards and ancient Mesopotamian string instruments to captivate. The power of "Where Evil Dwells" rests in its bones, which are alight with furious riffs. These speedy sequences would find comfort in the camps of Exciter or Agent Steel, but meshed into thrash-influenced bits à la old Slayer or Exodus and casual nods and melodies to Iron Maiden's first two chapters. The intensity, however, is the crowning jewel; the fury is unrelenting. The persistent storm of manic speed metal combined with the group's tremoring mid-paced breaks makes "Where Evil Dwells" a killer from A to Z.
Raw, bass-heavy sound quality and vocals that are a stone's throw away from gnarls found on classic Exodus records serve to amplify what Ranger does infallibly. The neck-breaking speed riffs on "Defcon 1" pounded out by scorching solos and brief nods to Di'Anno-era Maiden tell the listener what Ranger has in store for the remaining thirty minutes; this ravishing madness is never held up. They prove themselves as capable songwriters throughout, especially when climbing the ten-minute title track on the same themes upon which the whole of "Where Evil Dwells" is built. The ending "Storm of Power" shuts down the opus on a frenzy of blazing riffs and constant aggression without missing a beat. Needless to say, containing my erection has been quite the task.
"Where Evil Dwells" is blistering. The hold-no-punches approach used by Ranger strikes hard from the first hit to the final haymaker, the flurry in between missing not an ounce of power. See Ranger as the antithesis of a group like Skullfist, whose style is mostly overproduced and gaudy. Few bands of this present era in metal have the unrelenting punishment of classic subgenres without looking over the basics or settling for the easy way out. Ranger's work here is fantastic, and if speed metal gets you high, let "Where Evil Dwells" be your drug.
Ranger - Where Evil Dwells
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