I have Raging Speedhorn to blame for ruining my life. They were the soundtrack to my first punch in the face in the pit. My first spilled beer. My first ruined tour t-shirt. The first time I could barely see the band on stage for the swarming limbs of crowdsurfers. The first time I couldn’t hear a single thing at school the next day. They were my first heavy gig, and it was, up to that point in my life, probably the most fun I’d ever had. I’ve spent all the years since chasing that same feeling at hundreds of gigs across countless venues and cities, instead of doing all the shit you’re probably supposed to do with your life. I think I made the right choice…?
Unfairly dismissed by many as nu-metal also-rans (simply untrue) or blatant Iron Monkey copyists (well, a little true), Raging Speedhorn never really got a fair shake the first time around despite slogging it out on multiple tours around the toilet circuit for close to a decade, before finally calling it quits in 2008.
Members have come and gone throughout the years, but it’s this reformed iteration of the band, with both original vocalists Frank Regan and John Loughlin, that is probably most revered by fans. Despite only featuring one other original member, drummer Gordon Morison, the band has lost none of their ferocity, which they proved by tearing through a triumphant comeback set at Damnation Festival last month. To see the whole main stage crowd going fucking ballistic was a sight to behold, and showed that despite only a few years away, Raging Speedhorn have been sorely missed.
Their victory lap around the UK sees them supported by Stoke-on-Trent’s Sworn To Oath for the duration, and local openers Dog Tired for the Glasgow show. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to catch more than a minute at the tail end of Dog Tired‘s set, but their big n’ dirty take on groove metal seems to have gone down a treat. Sworn To Oath‘s sound is a damn sight more polished than the headliners, leaning more towards the melodic side of things, which makes them a bit of an odd fit. They play a solid enough set drawn mainly from their debut album Pillars, but unfortunately fail to generate much reaction from the frantically beer-can-chugging Glasgow crowd, who are clearly here for one band only.
When Raging Speedhorn take the stage, it’s like nothing has changed since I was a young ‘un. There are no camera phones, no beard-stroking musos, just a load of large chaps shouting at other large chaps on a stage, and a lot of jumping into and off of things.
Culling the set exclusively from their first two albums is a smart move, since there’s enough great tracks on those to comfortably never let things drop below total carnage. The big tracks like Thumper, The Gush and Fuck The Voodooman are all greeted with “fuck ayes” and stage dives, but it’s the deeper album cuts that demonstrate just how fucking killer this band were at the time. Gut-churningly heavy renditions of Scrapin’ The Resin, Necrophiliac Glue Sniffer and a throat-ruining Iron Cobra are all highlights, with the reaction to The Hate Song as volatile as always, an open invitation for all out chaos which the crowd gladly takes them up on. They even manage to throw a new song in among the classics, tentatively titled Halfway To Hell, before wrapping things up with a storming High Whore.
That they leave the stage with massive grins on their faces shows the reason behind this reformation; they’re doing this for no-one but themselves, clearly having a fucking blast playing together again. While drunkenly rambling something akin to the first paragraph of this review at Frank after the show, thanking him for another chance to see the band that ruined my life, I vaguely remember him saying “We just wanted to play again, we don’t give a fuck“. What more reason do you need, really?
Scribed by: Ross McKendrick
Photos by: Simon Anger