who names a song "Ass Kicker #1" has to be secure in their sound. There's just no way that you can make the threat of bodily
harm against the listener unless you really, truly know you rock.
Riddle of Steel knows it rocks. This entire album
is filled with what has become the Ascetic Records sound: dark, chaotic post-grunge epics with garage rock tempos. This isn't
your average post-grunge though. There's absolutely no cliche three-chord slamming, as ROS prefers to play clashing, dissonant
chords with chaotic, virtually freeform riffs. There's no manufactured, blocky vocals here either- with wild and choppy vocals,
the singer for ROS is much more akin to Jack White of The White Stripes than Aaron Lewis of Staind. Add to those elements a blissfully erratic drummer and some completely raw production, and what do you
have? A royal mess.
So how is this a good album? It's all in the bass. When “Ass Kicker #1” takes off, only guitars, drums, and vocals
are present; it's the introduction of bass 50 seconds in that whips this song into a frenzy, as well as transforming it into
a cohesive unit. It's the pummeling, controlling bass sound that connects all the seemingly unconnected pieces of ROS's sound
throughout, although it's most drastically shown in “Ass Kicker #1”, which is the best song on the album.