RANGER, Combat Metal (2012, demo)
Stippling is an underused technique for sure on heavy metal demos, but Ranger found some dude willing to dot the shit out of a skull for them. He’s a big-headed sort of guy, kind of a cross between that Destruction skull and Kreator’s Violent Mind (well, his skull at least). His enormous dome almost makes him look like a hydrocephalic baby vampire skull. Maybe that’s why he only has teeth on the top – he’s just teething. Too young to menace, not too old to be cute. Aw, wookit the widdle skull, with the evil wed eyes…. Goochie goochie goo!
This cassette-only demo came out late last year, and you know that any band stupid enough to release anything on cassette is also not going to be forging new ground with their music. I guess the NWOBHM and Bay Area Thrash have both been adequately rehashed, and now it’s time to redo speed metal. Whoopee. Living Death, Exciter, Razor, early Deathrow and Angel Dust, you know the drill. Ranger’s singer is of the screamy, not barky variety, and armed with that information, assuming you’ve ever heard a speed metal band before, you can pretty much imagine what you’re going to get here. I have a sort of nostalgic fondness for this sort of thing (I own both Mandator albums, for fuck’s sake) but I don’t exactly love the stuff, and I’m not especially interested in hearing more of it, but honestly, Ranger do as fine a job of recycling speed metal as, say, Havok does recycling Bay Area thrash. If you don’t know your metal history, you love rethrash, and you wish the vocalist kinda-sorta sang, then Ranger are a perfectly fine band. Break out your walkman and your denim vest, hit play and tell your parents they can shove it.
— Friar Johnsen