They’ve been going for what seems like forever, and survived myriad trends, including the demise of Nu-Metal and all things turn of the millennium, countless cultural and personal highs and lows and even a pandemic to deliver their 6th studio album. Hard to kill? They’re like fucking cockroaches!
There are a few lineup changes this time around: Dan Cook replaces long-standing co-vocalist John Loughlin, who called it a day after 21 years during the recording of the album, and guitarist Dave Leese and former Hundred Reasons bassist Andy Gilmour also join founding drummer Gordon Morison and guitarist Jim Palmer.
And right now, a new Speedhorn album is exactly what the world needs, and it thunders in hard with lead single ‘Snakebite’, a raging roar of guitars firing on all cylinders and drums pounding. A gnarly, snarling, speed-punk metal slamdown, it’s got all the aggression and heats things up fast.
‘Doom Machine’ takes a slower, more classic, Sabbath-influenced path with its lumbering riffology, but it’s still got that brawling bravado and full-throated vocal that’s an industrial/thrash hybrid and packs a mean punch. Meanwhile, ‘Spitfire’ revives a different kind of vintage, landing somewhere between Rage Against the Machine and Ministry circa ‘Psalm 69’: 1992 was pretty cool: not only in hindsight, but perhaps even more so sitting here, nostalgic not just for the past, but any kind of semblance of a life.
‘Hard to Kill’ is properly heavy, properly big on riffs, dense, dark, grating and grinding, and from the first listen, it has an immediacy – mainly because it is so rhythmic and riffy: there’s a certain tempo and weight that has almost a gravitational pull for the nodding head, and they hit that spot with practically every track here. Such relentless fire is magnificently cathartic.
Closing the album with a cover of T Rex’s ‘Children of the Revolution’ proves a stroke of twisted genius: it’s not their first leftfield cover, but taking the glam classic and amping up the sleaze and aggression serves them well, and makes for a stomping and unashamedly uplifting finish to the album.