Following not one but two spellbinding shows at Live Evil, as well as two skull-crushing EPs, hopes for Ranger’s first full-length album have been high. Thankfully, they’ve not disappointed.
The raging Finns have raided the very best of the early years of the thrash movement for their inspiration, distilling the fast and furious adrenaline-fuelled aggression of Kill ’Em All, Show No Mercy and Bonded By Blood for starters. Add in Exciter’s Heavy Metal Maniac and perhaps even some Blessed Death for good measure and what you get is an absolute barnstormer of an album.
Nailing their colours to the old school, Where Evil Dwells opens with Defcon 1 – nuclear war always trumps Satan in the old-school metal stakes – although of course Old Nick makes an appearance on Black Circle (Say You Love Satan!).
While the pace may be frenetic and fearsome, Ranger never sacrifice memorable riffs to the altar of speed; they harken back to an age when Slayer still worshipped the true gods (Priest and Mercyful Fate, natch).
A full-on, wild-eyed, snarling, studded-fist-to-your-face of a beast, this could well be the most exciting album since the thrash/speed renaissance emerged over a decade ago./o:p