This is wicked. RUTHLESS is back with a new album after their comeback in 2015 with “They Rise”. RUTHLESS is one of the numerous metal acts that spawned during the ’80s, somehow got lost in the way, only to return in the ’00s to finish what they have started. And I’m glad they did.
2015’s “They Rise” was great; a nicely balanced album full of metal tunes, but this one got beyond my expectations. RUTHLESS have managed to create a highly energized album, proving that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, but even old dogs have a couple of aces in their sleeve.
While the band maintains RUTHLESS‘ classic power/thrash/speed metal approach, it does elevate the final result one level higher with songs like the title track, “Skulls” or “Storm of Souls”, where we witness a more melodic/epic approach similar to the one introduced to “Time Waits for No One” in their previous album, which is actually pretty heavy in a more distant sentimental way. These tracks have an epic feeling and an early OMEN essence which makes them quite enjoyable. On the other hand, “Cryptic Ruins”, “Atrocities”, “In Blood”, and generally most of the songs are more straightforward; a heavy mix of IRON CROSS, PURGATORY, STEEL ASSASSIN, early OVERKILL, and of course RUTHLESS‘ trademark sound. It feels a bit weird as the band is too “classic” for thrashers, and too thrashy for classic metal fans, but fear not as their raw, unpolished sound will attract both parties.
Last but not least, it’s worth mentioning that the track “Fear Never Sleeps” bears some slightly KING DIAMOND influences, a detail that makes it quite interesting.
To sum it up I’d say that RUTHLESS have added another great album in their arsenal. It’s an honest, awesome attempt by veterans of the kind.