RoadRash. The name alone strongly reeks of a certain sonic quality: mustachioed, leatherclad, whiskey-sodden, and imbued with a lifetime of chainsmok’d cheap cigars. You either know what I’m talkin’ about, or you have never experienced (or imagined) the adrenal rush associated with drag racing a Mad Maxian jalopy down the uncivilized highway, sparks flying from the torn bumper’s ungainly contact with the sunbaked pavement, booze churning though your veins and Motorhead bootlegs blaring through busted speakers. Y’know, that particular (and relatable) fantasy.
Self-reported “Canadian speed metal marauders” RoadRash are raw speed metal at its most straightforward, most belligerent, and, frankly, most fun. Think Excited. Think Razor. If you’re still with me, think Warhead, or Living Death, or Iron Angel. Whiplash with sleezier vocals and more references to driving fast. In other words, RoadRash (and now you, presumably,) are familiar indeed with the grimy lineup of speed metal royalty. This 2-track EP exudes a gloriously infectious devil-may-care ‘tude--and when it comes to speed metal, if you ain’t got that, you ain’t got shit.
It certainly helps that from a technical perspective, the rawness of RoadRash’s brand is the furtherest from sloppy. These guys are a tight unit, firing on all cylinders with a professional precision that, frankly, you don’t see a whole lot in this scene. As such, the one-two punch provided by this self-titled release serves as a fantastic hook to their larger body of work in general.
Regarding the tracks on display: the overtly entitled “666 MPH” is an absolute powerhouse, engaging a high-octane momentum and a repetitive chorus to great effect. Followup “Street Guerreiros” features a chorus that, while less immediate, stays stuck in yer brain long after the fact. This alone is a huge accomplishment--typically songs that adhere to these genre roots are powerful in the moment, but lack any real staying power. Not so here. In the past few weeks of listening to this 2-track, I have found myself chanting the lyrics underbreath on many an occasion.
Given the inherently derivative vibe I associate with speed metal, everything here fits, even if I feel like it’s been done before. Even the blatant "Eruption"-esque Van Halen homage feels right at home, which says something. My only criticism--if they can be called that--is exceedingly minimal: even as I understand the use of a 2-track, I feel like this EP would have received even more airtime ‘round these parts if there was another song or two to beef up the overall package. That said, RoadRash has successfully turned my eye towards RoadRash’s prior releases, and if that isn’t worthwhile, I dunno what is.
RoadRash - RoadRash was released Feb. 2020 from Metal Assault Records
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.