Album: Flash Metal
Genre: Speed metal
As always, I’m continually on the lookout for newer bands who have taken it upon themselves to carry on the old traditional torch and Renorax is definitely one such band. Renorax are brand new project from France, and Flash Metal is their short-but-super-sweet debut EP. And so far, it’s definitely at the top of what I’ve heard so far this year when it comes to speed metal. There are a number of things that I like about it, but first and foremost, I simply dig the stripped-down approach to the execution. It’s like a piece of freshly cooled volcanic rock: hot, heavy, jagged, and completely unpolished.
The riffs are sharp and tight and have enough originality to them that keeps them interesting. They aren’t necessarily pushing the envelope with earth-shattering musical phrasing or anything, but they are definitely avoiding the tired and overused clichés that a good many bands like to pull out of their bag of tricks to build up that throwback cred. But interestingly enough, it’s not the riffs that make this band so enjoyable to listen to as much as it is the whole package.
Take the lead playing, for instance. Yeah, the solos fast and noodly, which is just what you’d expect from a just about any speed metal band. But the fills are really catchy and not at all what you might expect if you were thinking of the lead player doing nothing more than mindless scaly fretboard mayhem. The phrasing is calculated and precise and – above all – absolutely engaging. In fact, the lead and rhythm guitarists do quite a bit of trading back and forth which gives the songs a lot more depth than what would be possible with the simple lead guitar/rhythm guitar arrangement. They also have an actual bass player, whose bass playing stands all on its own. He’s not just doubling the riffs, or hitting the tonic of each implied chord. Rather, he’s providing an actual foundation for the rest of the music whilst creating a contrapuntal mesh with the lead and rhythm guitars. It’s simply perfect.
And of course, no speed metal band would really be complete without a rip-roaring percussionist. And yet again, Renorax simply delivers, all the way home. The percussionist’s creativity is equally matched by his precision and ferocity, along with his willingness to do things that are, for lack of a better word, a little unorthodox when it comes to metal drumming. Sure, you’ve got the snares and the kick drums pretty much getting pummelled to death throughout the album, but the way he throws in the lower-timbred cymbals and bells at odd times really brings out a cool sound in the mix.
This is a great release, and really look forward to what these guys have coming down the line as a full-length album of this quality would be a real winner in my book.
Check ’em out here: https://renorax.bandcamp.com/