Rock n’ roll is alive and kicking baby, and it lives in Baltimore! Well, that’s where these snotty, street punks known as Ravagers can be found anyways. Taking their tricks from all your favourite punk n’ roll bands, they come outta the gutters screaming like the bastard sons of Hanoi Rocks and The Dead Boys jamming out with The Exploding Hearts. And if those names aren’t enough to whet the appetite, you’re on the wrong page entirely. Just look at that cover art and tell me you don’t want that on vinyl right now!
This is the debut long player from the 8-legged denim & leather clad four piece, and it’s no surprise to discover former Biters and current Restless Hearts leader Tuk Smith at the production helm, as this 10-track ‘all killer, no filler’ affair comes on like his former band’s early EPs (and we all know how good those are, right kids?).
Right from the off, Ravagers are firing on all cylinders. Previous single ‘Down That Road’ has a cool as you like gang vocal chorus that is preceded by urgent beats, guitars shooting from the hip and snotty vocals spat with enough venom and attitude to make this listener pay attention. It’s instant, it’s exciting and it will make you wanna don a leather jacket, grease back your hair and go look for some action.
Yes, there’s an element of danger and a whole lotta energy packed into the sonically seductive grooves of ‘Badlands’. Untamed, unkempt and undernourished, Ravagers certainly have an appetite for destruction. They seem like the sorta band that would steal your beer, shag your girlfriend and piss on your rims without giving it a second thought. In fact, they’d probably write a song about it, and you’d buy it, cuz it would be fuckin’ killer!
Think Motörhead drums, the power chords of Ramones and Stooges raw power, all wrapped up with anthemic power pop melodies, that’s a sure-fire recipe for rock n’ roll success, baby! Frontman Hagen sure has a Stiv Bators drawl about him, and the powerful rhythm section backs up the guitars of the singer and former Biters man Matt Gabbs to perfection.
‘Shake The Reaper’ is ‘Badlands’ pièce de résistance. A haunting, almost gothic picked guitar intro leads into a killer AC/DC riff, with pumping bass and no-frills beats. A catchy chorus with stabs of keys to accompany it, here they remind me a lot of New York punks Wyldlife, as they also do on ‘White Widow’, not a bad thing at all in my book. Man, this band have street anthems designed to blast at top volume, at maximum speed. Play loud, play fast and leave the competition weeping in the rear-view mirror. Just blast out the high energy, hook-laden ‘Trespasser’ for further evidence.
There’s a 70’s glam rock stomp to ‘Blackout’, it has a killer hook any sleazy rock n’ roll band would kill for and its fast becoming an album highlight for me with each play. The thing all these songs have in common? Loud guitars, killer hooks and enough anthemic choruses to give the Swedish action rockers a run for their money.
Ravagers have been causing debauchery for nearly a decade. 2 EP’s and a whole bunch of touring cemented a notorious live reputation. They have opened for the likes of The Damned and The Adicts, and played the Las Vegas’ Punk Rock Bowling Festival amongst others.
Who knows where live music will take us in the coming months and years and how well underground bands will adapt to survive. But I’ll tell you one thing, on the evidence of their debut album, these street rats called Ravagers have what it takes to survive these trying times. A punk rock energy and a handful of great tunes could take them far. Hell, these boys are so confident, they have a song called ‘Suzi (has an Uzi)’ and it didn’t even make the album!
If they drag their skinny arses over the pond, make no bones about it, I’ll be there in a shot, and so should you. But for now, track down this album and buy it on your favourite musical format of choice. You won’t regret it.
Author: Ben Hughes