July 31, 2007 | , | 3.5

Raging Speedhorn, Before The Sea Was Built

Raging Speedhorn play a pretty raging hybrid of metal and hardcore. Combining memorable riffs and leads with a dual vocal attack, the band has created a melodic, yet grating rock-fueled experience. The layered vocal delivery generates a chaotic din of screams and shouts over crusty riffs and driving drums. It’s an interesting dynamic that makes this disc quite enjoyable.

With a few exceptions, every track on Before The Sea Was Built flows into the next with a continuous groove and flow. The hard rock influenced guitar work will leave a lasting impression — just about every riff or hook is unique enough to be memorable, yet blends into the cohesive unit of the overall sound on the album. The driving bass is often thick and has a punk tinge to it. The drumming is inspired — slow and deliberate when it needs to be, but a powerful force when the moment calls.

While Before The Sea Was Built is pretty damned good, I do have one complaint. There are a couple of moments on this disc where the band decided to build a song to a powerful climax from a silent and slow start. The song’s themselves are enjoyable, but absolutely kill any momentum the band had coming into that brief opening seconds of silence.

Everything Changes
The opening track is just about as perfect as opening tracks go. It builds for a calm bit of guitar and drum work into driving intensity. The riff is quite catchy and the drumming effective. The dual vocal barrage from Jon Loughlin and Bloody Kev prove to create an interesting rift between musical elements within the song that surprisingly still keeps its melody.

Before The Sea Was Built
The band continues with the title track immediately where they left off with the intro — striking melodic guitars and the layered dual vocals. Between Loughlin and Kev we are treated to hardcore style shouts, manic screams and a dynamic that works effortlessly together.

Dignity Stripper
“Before The Sea Was Built” flows smoothly into this next track. This one has a great groove and flow. It’s probably one of my favorite tracks on the album due to it’s more up beat pace, infectious melodies and drive.

Again, there is little pause before “Mishima” continues where “Dignity Stripper” left off. The riffs and hooks so far from song to song are consistent and free flowing, creating a smooth listening experience. This one is a bit darker in sound overall.

Last Comet From Nothingness
Here is the first instance of that momentum killing build up that I talked about briefly above. Nearly a full minute goes by until full volume is reached. I can understand a band wanting to mix up the pace a bit and give the listener a bit of a reprieve, but this one is just a bit too long. Otherwise, it’s an excellent song — one of the hardest hitting once it finally gets going.

Born To Twist The Knife
“Born To Twist The Knife” leads off with a good bit of creative drumming before everyone else joins in. The chorus is pretty damned catchy. There are some nice pace changes within this one.

Who Will Guard The Guards?
After a bit of reverb from the previous track it’s another full minute before we hear anything again from the band. Again, once we get past the silence we have another standout track. It’s abrasive and heavy.

Too Drunk To Give A Fuck
This one will just plain rock the hell out of your speakers. It’s heavy, aggressive and has a great bit of guitar and drum work. Combine that with a bit more melodic (yet still acerbic) vocal assault and you’ve got yourself a great song.

Sound Of Waves
The band slows it down just the smallest bit with the longest track on the album. “Sound of Waves” still carries the flow from the previous tracks well, but it is noticeably more drawn out and less demanding. There are two elements of this song that I really love. The first is the heavy handed drum work. The second is the brief solo toward the end of the track — it’s the perfect compliment to the rest of the song.

Jump Ship
The final track brings back that urgency that was left from most of “Sound of Waves.” This one is angry and a bit more discordant than the rest of the disc.

~ ~ ~

I’m unfamiliar with the band’s previous three studio albums, but if they are anywhere as addictive as Before The Sea Was Built, I’m going to have to break the bank to find them. Raging Speedhorn’s melodic concoction of hardcore and metal is caustic, memorable and aggressive — creating one of my favorite releases of the year.

Favorite Tracks:
Before The Sea Was Built
Dignity Stripper
Born To Twist The Knife
Too Drunk To Give A Fuck

Additional Notes: