I once knew a guy called SikFuk. I could tell his name was SikFuk because he had it prominently tattooed on his forearm, both his forearms in fact, now I come to think about it. He had looong greasy brown hair, a 1000 yard stare and a manic laugh that just chilled me to the bone whenever I heard it erupt. His real name was Charles, which kinda spoils the story a bit so we’ll ignore that part. I never asked him how he got his name because I never ever wanted to know, but he did sport a big belt buckle onto which someone (him?) had scratched and painted ‘Ex-con’.
Charles comes to mind because when I look at the front cover of R.I.P Street Reaper, he’d have fitted right in – probably into the back seat between the dude sitting with his belly out proudly and the guy in the sparkly band tee. Add in the poncho fella and the mean critter in the driving seat and that’s all you need to know about the crew behind probably my favourite metal LP of 2017*. Buncha SikFuks.
I picked up on Street Reaper via the mighty Doom Charts blog and immediately blew my wad on the 180g white vinyl, with a poster edition of 400; but that’s just how I get my jollies these days. Oh my, imagine my excitement when it arrived. Forget about the great photos even, just get a load of the song titles!
What more do you need to know?**
Street Reaper just sounds electric to me. Every note, every yelp, every beat is so completely wired, distorted and overdriven it’s a charm. There is something deeply sickly about the treble-charged thrills on offer here, but it moves me to bang my head like no other LP I’ve played in a long time. The overall effect is like Street Reaper was recorded on a 4 track recorder back in ’89 and the LP was cut from a 9th generation taped copy; in a fucking great way! Just listen to the riff on the opener ‘Unmarked Grave’, it’s just filthy and unhealthy, played on grave-rusted strings. I can guarantee that no vitamins were consumed at all during the making of this LP, plenty of supermarket own-brand cleaning products, but definitely no vitamins. I mean, look at them! The cover photoshoot has to be the first time that Fuzz, Angel M, Willie D and Jon Mullett^ had seen daylight since 1996.
To R.I.P off a quote from Kill ‘Em All, bang the head doesn’t bang to Street Reaper, especially the epic majesty of ‘Mother Road’. For my money this is the best in show here a desert rock epic accidentally played at 45RPM , a relentless fuzzed-up (ahem) driving riff, a song to blast from your car as you outrun the zombie hordes overrunning civilization, your latest skanky squeeze literally riding shotgun next to you, drinking moonshine; ‘I feel the hand of doom behind me / Need speed I need white lines / Sitting down is doing time / No stop sign in my mind’. Yeah!
It is relentless and brilliant from start to finish, there are even a few touches of Iron Maiden and Armoured Saint here and there, imagine the first Maiden LP if all the band had been Paul Di’Anno-s, that’s what we’re dealing with right now. It is an immutable law of nature that everything sounds 28.54% better on white vinyl, but even without that boost Street Reaper just rocks. I have no criticisms.
R.I.P may not have quite brought the fetid corpse of heavy metal back to life, but rest assured they have done something unutterably vile to its’ dead body that has left it pretty gooey.
*although not appearing on my best of since I only picked it up in November.
**that’s one of them rhetorical questions that ladies deploy during arguments.
^all of which I have no doubt are aliases adopted to confuse their parole officers back in Portland, OR.