There’s nothing like coming across straight up, honest speed metal; not thrash, not NWOBHM, but speed metal right down to the last note. Shadow Kingdom Records are delivering the fourth album by Massachusetts headbangers Seax titled Fallout Rituals. There isn’t a tag better suited, because no slow moments make an appearance throughout the entire run of this record.
Musically, it’s exactly what you’re picturing; fast-picked notes, pummeling drum beats, screeching solos and high pitched vocals. It isn’t as cut and dry as that, and Seax thankfully isn’t just a run-of-the-mill Exciter worship band. The layers of the riffs are laid out stupendously, giving a lot of life to something that isn’t drenched in intricacy. See “Killed By Speed” with how it introduces us to the twin rhythm attack, as well as delivering dual solos back and forth.
Working in its favor, Fallout Rituals is also produced perfectly. Every instrument comes through to just the right level, allowing this stellar guitar work to own the forefront. Moreover, the bass is very audible and can almost be felt in songs like “Feed The Reaper,” especially since this tune leads in relying heavily on the bass. Best of all, Seax have a good ear for melody which helps give the songs their own identities, if the gang-vocal choruses didn’t do that already.
On the other hand, there is one big roadblock to get through. The vocalist has such a high pitched, almost screechy style of singing that it’s extremely difficult to get into. First time hearing this, I didn’t even like the album, but after a couple of spins, it grew on me. “Rituals” makes this obvious right from the get-go, but since there are passages of lower toned vocal onslaughts, and help with the backup singing, I can forgive it.
The best thing to walk away with is to focus on the music itself because all of it is very well crafted from start to finish. If you can get past cringy singing styles that aren’t subtle in the slightest, then this is the ideal disc for any and all speed metal seekers. Even the lyrics are pretty standard for this genre, touching on speed itself and fearful creatures. Without a doubt, the spin is very much worth your time.