Ride Forth

Not too young to drink and to shred

dB Rating: 9/10

Release Date: January 8th, 2016
Label: Prosthetic Records

Prosthetic sent out a digital promo of
Exmortus’ For the Horde 7-inch last summer, and the b-side was an Yngwie cover. People talk a lot of shit about Yngwie, because he’s kind of a clown, but he can also play his ass off. Whether you find that playing tasty depends on whether or not you’re ready to stop posing so hard, but I personally am here to defend the shredders, because without the shredders, nil nisi bonum anywhere ever. I will fight you on this.

Ride Forth is an album by a band from Whittier who’d put a straight-faced Yngwie cover on the b-side of a single. On the basis of that alone, you should buy their album, which fucking shreds so hard that one of the songs is a cover of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 23, the “Appasionata.” The production’s too clean here for this to be a genuine relic of the golden age (I can actually hear the bass—the wonderful, galloping, Steve-Harris-worshipping bass!), but the passion, the drive, the dedication: the last time you heard this level of commitment was in the early ’80s, and the music was being played by dudes who could recite the tracklist of No Parole From Rock ‘n’ Roll from memory.

These songs have been labored over until every riff gleams; each one has at least one guitar solo, and every solo is great. Sometimes it’s two solos twinned, just like bands that are great used to have. I consider this album a stinging, righteous rebuke to a world where bands who can’t play keep playing for audiences who can’t play air guitar. I want those bands and those audiences to get in line behind the people who hate on Yngwie, because I will fight them, too, just as soon as I finish playing this nearly perfect album for the third time today.

—John Darnielle
Review originally printed in the March 2016 issue.