Wednesday 23 January 2019

Speed Kills - Speed Kills (2018)

Country: Italy
Style: Speed Metal
Rating: 5/10
Release Date: 14 Dec 2018
Sites: Facebook | Metal Archives | Official Website

There's nothing like a good thrash to clean you out, as Tommy Vance used to say. Speed Kills are from Florence in Italy and they've been around since 2011 but this is their full length debut. At a rough guess, not one of them was alive in 1985 when Music for Nations issued my favourite compilation album of all time, which carried the same name. Puns are rarely new.

It seems to be mostly culled from older songs. The five tracks on the cassette they circulated at gigs in 2017 are all here, as are at least two from the EP they released in 2014, including the title track. If Mater morbi is the same as Land of the Dead, then make that three. One track, Bombs Over Dresda, dates all the way back to their original 2012 demo, Badass Death, but nothing else from that made it this far.

Whether old or new, there's a consistency here that I appreciated, in both tempo and quality, with only a few solos to show off. Mostly this is done at pace and they only slow down long enough to give the pit a moment to breathe every now and then before revving back up again. Angor Animi in particular plays like that a lot. The slowest track is the last one, Gates of Ishtar, but that only shows up after forty minutes of fast paced thrash. If you're still in the pit by that point, you're not going to care.

I couldn't catch too many of the lyrics, which seem to be entirely in English, but I caught enough to see that there's a real sense of humour underpinning this band, as mostly evidenced in the self-deprecating We Suck and also in Beerserker and the charmingly titled LA Fuckers.

The primary influences appear to be Slayer and Motörhead, neither of which is too surprising, especially given the clean vocals that flirt just a little with death growls, but there are hints of other styles here as different as those of Destruction, Venom and Tankard. The point is that Speed Kills do a pretty decent job of cleaning our clock for three quarters of an hour but they don't seem to have found their own recognisable way of doing that.

That may help to explain why, while the standard is pretty high here throughout, there's little that's memorable enough to stand out from the crowd. Oddly, it's the more humour based tracks that come closest, like We Suck, LA Fuckers and We Brake for Nobody.

On the basis of this album, I'd suggest that Speed Kills would make for a solid support band to any big thrash bands touring through Tuscany, but they're not going to be moving up the bill any time soon. They'd certainly warm me up for the big pit.

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