2011 : Hells Headbangers
With only a demo tape and two 7 inches under their bullet belts, these Mile High City desperadoes have succeeded in unleashing one of my top ten albums of last year. Seriously, not a week goes by that either the vinyl or the plastic isn’t getting some rotation. There’s a vibe from my long lost youth that I instantly connected with, not in some cheesy-ass “retro” way, but something that taps into that primal “hell yea” section of my reptillian brain.
Now you probably won’t read a Speedwolf review without a mention of A) Motörhead and B) Midnight. The Motörhead reference is dead to rights as these guys wear that influence on their sleeveless denim jackets. Hell, my money’s on vocalist Reed Bremmer actually being the illegitimate love child of Lemmy Kilmister and Wendy O. Williams. I’d say there’s also a healthy dose of Venom, a nod to classic NWOBHM, maybe some Discharge, Black Flag and a hint of Blues Metal era Danzig…if John Christ was snorting meth from a big-haired groupie’s butt cheek. Throw in some 70s outlaw biker exploitation flicks and few rips through an empty pool on an Alva deck and you get the idea.
While I do love Midnight, those guys are punked-out Thrash while these fellas are pure, full-throttled Speed Metal. The only real connection would be something that we’ve forgotten after years in our frostbitten kingdoms, sometimes Metal should be fun. You can still be dead serious about the music, but maybe not so much so about yourself. Not all of us banging our heads and throwing the horns are inbred glue-sniffers with the IQ of a footstool. A few of us still remember when it was ok to not be standing in the back with our arms crossed.
Musically the band is about as tight as any basic four piece can be, that’s the classic vocals, guitar, bass and dums set-up. Lyrically, a quick browse through the titles lets you know what you’re in for: “Out On Bail”, “Time To Annihilate”, “Death Ripper” and “The Ripper” to name a few. Most tracks clock in at under four minutes, with the exception of the opening Speedwolf anthem. That one features a groovy “about to rip your sack off and use it as a coin purse” lead in.
To reiterate, I picked this one up late last year, but it quickly became one of my favorites. Speedwolf lets us know we have their permission to be rowdy, that it’s alright to have a few too many, and remind us that one of the greatest elements of Metal is still Rock and Roll.
Here’s a little “Denver666” for your listening (and viewing) pleasure: