Album Review: Against The Grain – Cheated Death

By Ryan Falla

Newly minted Ripple Records band Against The Grain has released their fifth album, ‘Cheated Death’, the first with their new label. Against the Grain already holds a deep discography, one which has established the band as heavy rock warriors. A smooth mixture of speed rock and groove tunes brings another successful record into the quickly growing discography of Against the Grain.

Within ‘Cheated Death’ is a plethora of hard-hitting tracks deeply ingrained in heavy rock; pangs of thrash metal fused with harmonic grooves a la Thin Lizzy form the ultimate sound of this album. There are twelve tracks in all, each track jam-packed with killer speed-rock aggression. On top of the aggressive nature of Against the Grain are the melodies that twist the speed-rock formula into a new beast. ‘Cheated Death’ is the kind of record that you can pop into your car’s CD player and let it fly. It’s the kind of record you would imagine touring bands listen to while traveling from one city to the next.

There’s a lot to love within this record, though there is a repetitious nature built into the record, each track featuring an indistinct speed-rock formula. The music flows in and out of itself without regard, though it also washes over itself with its indistinct repetition. Most of the tracks on this record tend to accomplish the same goal, tonality wise, so you don’t end up with a lot of little flavors to taste throughout. ‘Cheated Death’ is one big flavor, whether you love it or not, and once you get the first taste, that’s all you’ll be tasting. It’s a good taste, don’t get me wrong, a fun taste even. There is some spice to be had within ‘Cheated Death’, it’s a very grounded and base flavor; short of variance.

When it comes to the meshing of harmonically led melodies and high intensity speed-rock, the shifts between formulas hang over your head. Two very distinct flavors which sometimes tend to break off into each other rather than flow. It breaks the immersion ever so slightly.

That said, ‘Cheated Death’ is a fun, energetic record that catapults you throughout a desert of road warrior tunes. A top-notch gathering of speed-rock efforts, with some melodic flavors mixed in, this is a record for lovers of hard rock and all things speedy.

Rating: 7.5/10

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Record Label: Ripple Music
Release Date: February 9 2018

Track Listing:
01. Cheated Death (3:13)
02. Full Of Smoke (4:02)
03. Sacrifice (1:56)
04. No Sleep (2:14)
05. Last Chance (4:09)
06. Devils And Angels (5:06)
07. High Heeled Woman (4:23)
08. Rolling Stone (2:03)
09. Enoughs Not Enough (2:29)
10. Going Down Fast (3:57)
11. Jaded And Faded (1:24)
12. Into The Light (3:10)

Total Duration: 38:06

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