When it comes to unlikely “success” stories of British metal, you’d be hard-pressed to find one less likely or as “successful” as Raging Speedhorn. We cracked out their demo CD, and let Hugh Platt get on with the business of being nostalgic.
If you’ve listened to this week’s episode of the Thrash Hits Podcast (and why wouldn’t you have?), you’ll have heard Raz and I reminiscing about Raging Speedhorn, after the surprise (well, to us at least) appearance of former Raging Speedhorn vocalist, John Loughlin, in the live line-up for Extreme Noise Terror at this year’s Damnation Festival.
Raging Speedhorn were one of the most unlikely “success” stories of post-Millennial Brit-Metal. The music they made was raw, dirty, and carried vocals that were too harsh for the nu-metal loving teen audience that made up the metal-mainstream at the time of Speedhorn’s rise to prominence. The band were six, gruff-looking dudes from Corby – there was none of the slick skater styling of the likes of lostpropets here. But Speedhorn caught the media’s attention with their Iron-Monkey-rocking-Sabbath songwriting, and they soon caught the public imagination. Hell, they were the only British band to play the infamous UK Ozzfest in 2001 (if you don’t count Black Sabbath, natch natch).
This version of ‘Thumper’ comes from one of Raging Speedhorn’s early demos – the most obvious differences between this and the version that saw release as the lead single from the band’s debut album are the vocals (which are far less organic and human-sounding in this version), as well as a less complicated rhythm section.
So why do we (somewhat patronisingly) call Raging Speedhorn a “success” story? Well, as widespread as their profile might’ve been, the Speedhorn legacy is littered with rumours about how they were screwed over by a succession of bad managers and even worse label relations. The band’s second album, We Will Be Dead Tomorrow, was littered with songs rumoured to be in reference to the band’s various handlers – ‘The Hate Song’, ‘Ride With The Devil’ and ‘Fuck The Voodooman’. The band’s third album, How The Great Have Fallen, was even more explicit, from it’s very title through to songs like ‘Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down’, ‘A Different Shade of Shit’, and the all-too-tellingly-titled ‘Fuck You! Pay Me!’. By the time the band announced their final farewell tour, they were on such bad terms with their label, SPV, that they were selling bootleg copies of their own records on their merch stand in order to avoid buying copies of it from the label.
And what or Speedhorn today? Well, the aforementioned John Loughlin is currently one of the vocalists in Extreme Noise Terror, of course. The rest of the various members have appeared in various bands over the years, with some of them even turning up in Murder One, the Brit-metal supergroup that featured at least one member of another Midweek Bootleg subject – Pulkas. Viking Skull – themselves playing their final ever show next month – started out as a Speedhorn side-project, although the level of Speedhorn within their line-up seems to have changed every time we look. Former Speedhorn guitarist and bassist, Jay and Dave Thompson (themselves recruited from Defenestration as replacements for founding members Tony Loughlin and Darren Smith) now play in the decidedly un-heavy Blacklight Pioneer. Frank Regan, former frontman, is currently fronting the rollicking Thunderhorse, with the man who replaced him in Speedhorn, Kevin “Bloody Kev” Greenham providing vocals to Regimes and S.T.F.U.
Watch the NSFW video for ‘The Gush’, Raging Speedhorn’s only non-album single:
So would we like to see a Raging Speedhorn reunion? Probably not. As much as we’d like to hear ‘Necrophilliac Glue Sniffer’ and ‘Iron Cobra’ one last time, sometimes you need to settle for your memories of something great, and accept that you can’t always recreate the magic chemistry that made them special the first time around. Raging Speedhorn were immense, yes, but they were also very much of their time. We’ll just stick to reliving them on Spotify, thank you very much.
Who the bloody hell are we kidding? WE WANT SPEEDHORN.