Right off the bat Speedtrap has two things going for it. First, they are from Finland. Second, they play speed metal. And, oh yea, that cover. Their blend of Thin Lizzy and Motörhead inspired speed metal combined with their traditional metal influences makes for a completely captivating experience. Whether you own a Camaro or not, this album is sure to force you to throw on a leather jacket, fire up whatever transportation device you own and do whatever version of donuts you are capable of. In short, Straight Shooter is one hell of a fun album.
Not to keep harping, but 2015 has been one hell of a year for speed, power, traditional, and thrash metal. But Speedtrap is not just another in a long line of great releases, Straight Shooter might take the cake for as 2015’s speed metal record of the year. With blistering guitar solos, vocals pushed to the limit and just solid songwriting, Speedtrap’s Straight Shooter is a head-banging pleasure.
Straight Shooter hits it’s sweet spot around the third track, “Running Rampant.” Which is probably the most blatant example of Speedtrap’s willingness to pay homage to Motörhead as inspiration. They use that sound as a foundation upon which to build their own brand of metal. Their music is fast (duh), full of shrill emotions and filled to the brim with fantastic, jealousy causing, guitar work. These guys can flat out play.
Vocalist, Jori Sara-Aho, has a few registers from which to shout, scream or sing his lyrics at the listener. His most effective range being his lowest, most melodic. At times, as on the opener, “No Glory Found,” it feels as if he’s pushing too hard—overdoing it to reach the shriller high notes. He’s better when he’s relaxed, following the melodies built by the guitars. But overall, his work is solid while supported by some expert musicianship that masks any blemishes.
Straightforward would be the best term to describe the drumming on Speedtrap. For example, on the title track, a classic intro fully gives way to a straightforward rockin’ metal anthem. Worth mentioning more than once, the guitar work is exceptional. Both the rhythm playing, bass, and the lead show technical ability, a touch for melody, restraint, and absolute shredding firepower. All supported by the metronome-like drumming of Markus Hietamies (who apparently switched from bass to drums for this recording).
The album closes with the punk inspired ripper, “Savage the Prey.” The shortest track on the album it follows the longest, and least successful track, and closes out the album in explosive fashion. Speedtrap are outrageously fun. A band meant to be enjoyed at top volume with a face full of smirks. Air guitar is encouraged. So give it a spin and prepare to hit your knees to mimic the shredding solos work of Ville Valavuo and Jaakko Hietakangas.