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RUTHLESS


RUTHLESS


"They Rise"

By Dr. Abner Mality

It is pretty much a truism that any band that had vinyl product out during the metal boom of the 80's is going to return. Much like the zombies on the cover of "They Rise", the dead live again. It was only a matter of time until California headbangers Ruthless pulled themselves out of their graves.

Nostalgia is the key ingredient of "They Rise". Certainly nobody on the lookout for innovation will be interested in this. But Ruthless don't pretend otherwise. "They Rise" owes a lot to the Judas Priest and Ozzy records of the 80's but not yet to that rarefied level. The song are mid-paced, simple and basic. Which is good in some cases and not so good in others. I can't fault the metal content here, but I could have done with more energy and anger. The title track is a plodding bore and "Time Waits" is quite the cliche ballad. If I want cliches, I want them with energy. And cuts like "Hangman", "Frustration" and "Defender" deliver that. This is enjoyable, nostalgic headbanging stuff that will take you back to the days of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot". The voice of Sammy D is quite strong and the guitar work is sturdy and reliable.

The ironic thing is, Ruthless have included the entirety of their breakout 1984 EP "Metal Without Mercy" here...and it still kicks ass. I find songs like "Bury The Axe", "The Fever" and "Metal Without Mercy" have withstood the test of time and are just as headbangable now as in days of old. "The Fever" is particular is a classic. I can't say any of the newer material touches it.

So Ruthless have returned. If your heart aches for the fist-pumping tunes of your youth, this is well worth a shot. I'm not sure we're going to see Ruthless getting much further than they did years ago, though.