Speed Limit - Anywhere We Dare

Speed Limit Anywhere We Dare cover
Speed Limit
Anywhere We Dare
Pure Rock Records
Formed in 1979 out of Salzburg, Austria is the well-versed heavy rock quintet Speed Limit, which this October released its fourth full-length on CD, “Anywhere We Dare”, under Pure Rock Records – an apt label considering the group’s penchant for punchy, powerful rock anthems in a similar hearty vein as their equally underrated American counterparts, Riot V and the even lesser-known Dirty Deal. Balancing equal parts virile brawn with adventuresome whimsy, Speed Limit is surely a conundrum; on one hand you’ve got a selection of bona fide heavy metal classics in the first three tracks and top highlight “Retired Hero”, whilst on the other you’re presented with a slew of saccharine hard rock cuts which, while competitively arranged and poignantly delivered, fail to stir the listener in a similarly unabashed fist-pumping manner.
In spite of this convoluted development rest assured the overall musicianship is beyond reproach. Front man Manuel Brettl possesses a confidant and well-defined voice which majestically soars above and beyond, even on lighter, crooning fare such as the eight-minute long odyssey, which is “No More Ace to Play”, the less sweet n’ low but downright shredding “Bridges” and Pink Floyd-ish “Sign of the Times”. Otherwise, he commands a strong presence throughout, starting with the partially “Moonchild” (Iron Maiden) sounding opener and title track on which you’ll unavoidably get rocked by Chris Pawlak’s monstrously buoyant and resounding bass tone. Although in this manner Speed Limit auspiciously sets sail, as inferred it eventually charts a bizarre course fraught with ever turbulent waters. For his part, Hannes Vordermayer solidly backs his band mates by supplying a wide measure of stout beats and varying tempos. Finally, the twin volley of the guitars contribute in well-determined measures, be they the crisp, crunching riffs or strident, piercing solos of the much heavier numbers, such as the staggeringly lean and mean chops and neo-classical lead break of “Sober Truth” or swift, enchantingly deployed rhythms to “Retired Hero”, which also features a fiery and hot rockin’ Mark Reale style guitar solo. Evidently, it’s shocking Joe Eder and Chris Angerer have remained out of the spotlight for so long. Also of note is the languid, Hawaiian sounding intro to “Good Year for Bad Habits”, which soon transcends into a potent mixture of pounding double bass drums and rapid-fire guitar shuffles punctuated by sharp, angular power chords and more Luau evoking leads tinged with a classical bent. This last is possibly the strangest track on display aside from the head-scratching-ly airy closer, “Affinity of Souls”, capped as it is with a perfunctory, Axel Rose style whistling acapella finale.
I feel rather ambivalent about Speed Limit’s “Anywhere We Dare”; if the entire album was as greasy and raw as the first three tracks we’d easily have an A grade winner on our hands. As it is, more than half the album is comprised of subdued material which would readily appeal to Bon Jovi, Coldplay and Poison fans (groan!). I suppose a particular advantage this release holds over sleeker, true-grit Austrian metal such as Liquid Steel, Roadwolf or High Heeler is its level of maturity and overall composition skills; if anything, its oft heart-warming, if not sappy, inclinations will appeal far more to gals in search of a romantic evening and candle light dinner than the latter bands, that’s for sure! At this point I’m interested in doubling back to earlier releases as they’re likely more ballsy and vigorous. For now, Speed Limit’s heavy metal compass points to only a limited number of tracks.