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 Ruthless - They Rise (2015) Album Review

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PostRuthless - They Rise (2015) Album Review

Ruthless - They Rise (2015)
Pure Steel Records -- Running Time: 60:39


Ruthless hail from Los Angeles, California and, at the risk of starting to repeat myself, are another band that were originally around in the early to mid 1980's, released an EP and an album, split up and are now releasing a follow up nearly thirty years on! With this band though there is a difference as I have never heard of them or their music before. Regardless of that fact it's not difficult to hear who their influences are and from what period they originate! 'They Rise' contains nine new tracks of US style Power/Heavy Metal in the vein of Iced Earth, Metal Church, Born Of Fire, Anvil, Judas Priest, Angel Witch and a little Ozzy fronted Sabbath! At the risk of starting to repeat myself (that sounds a bit familiar) this is actually a fairly good album, it wipes the floor with the latest Born Of Fire release, is well produced and played and takes you back to the days when Rob Halford didn't need to bend over double in pain, looking like he's got bad stomach cramps, to nearly hit the high notes!

Original vocalist Sammy DeJohn makes a pretty convincing stab at microphone duties, occasionally pulling off a goodish Halford high pitched scream, although on a couple of tracks he sounds just very slightly flat during the chorus. Fair play though, I've heard much worse in recent years and his delivery does suit the music. Guitarists Kenny McGee and Dave Watson deliver the riffs at a fair old pace, varying the speeds nicely and enjoying some duel leads in the vein of Downing & Tipton. Marc McGee plays adequate bass throughout and Jason VanSlyke hits the drums with enough venom to suggest his forearms are well developed! 'Defender' is a solid opener and, for their level, Ruthless don't really put a foot wrong for the rest of 'They Rise'!

Included as a bonus is the five track EP 'Metal Without Mercy' that was originally released in 1984. This sounds as though it's been completely remastered and actually has a slightly meatier sound than the new material. DeJohn sings in a lower register here and sounds more like Grave Digger's Chris Boltendahl without the accent. It's also worth pointing out that these tracks, whilst probably simpler in composition, actually sound more complete, 'The Fever' does a good job of emulating 'Power & The Glory' era Saxon and the chorus to 'Gates Of Hell' could have happily appeared on the first two Demon albums!

At the risk of repeating myself (I'm absolutely certain I've said that before), bands popping back out of the woodwork after a lengthy layoff are becoming more commonplace than dishonest politicians and it's difficult to see how Ruthless and 'They Rise' will manage to appeal to more than the diehard fans of the band or lovers of Traditional Heavy Metal. These guys certainly aren't going to worry the top tier of acts in this genre but what they do has been done well and as a comeback after a long time it has to be viewed as a success. I wonder if they can keep going this time around!

Review written exclusively for Brutiful Entertainment by Rick Tilley:

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