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Homage to black/thrash - 85%

autothrall, November 9th, 2009

Razor of Occam is a vicious black/thrash hybrid featuring members of Deströyer 666 and Macabre Omen. Though the project has been around for some time, Metal Blade Records has done right by snagging the band for its debut full-length (and to balance their ever expanding roster of trendy American melodeath/metalcore). Homage to Martyrs is a violent and ballsy introduction to the style of thrash and black metal pioneered by bands like Impaled Nazarene, Maze of Torment and Bewitched. The Australians approach this with an unswerving brutality, as if their songs were a wall of pure force.

"Altar of Corruption" flows like tank treads through the rank and file of infant flesh. Punishing double bass anchors a barrage of cohesive riffs. "Bite the Dogmata" seems a direct continuation in terms of pace, but the repetetive riffing creates a mesmerizing effect. "Day of Wrath" starts with a killer series of venomous guitars accented with horrifying and subtle leadwork. "Heat of Battle" creates a maelstrom of high velocity razor winds and shrill leads that will begin feasting on your bones once your flesh has been stripped. Other worthy tributes to blasphemy include the catchy and circular rhythms of "Pattern on the Stone" and the violent wrenching metal assault called "Flame Bearers".

This album will appeal to just about any fan of black or black/thrash metal, in particular those bands I listed above, certainly Deströyer 666. The production is perfect, guitars sharp as knives and an intense drum performance from Peter Hunt (formerly of UK bands Marshall Law and Dragonforce.) Vocals offers with a perfect sneer and the bass audible and punishing.

Quite a find for Metal Blade and quite an effort for a project which had yet to see its day.


Razor of Occam - Homage to Martyrs - 65%

ThrashManiacAYD, October 18th, 2009

Having attained a suitable cult rating through years of support slots to visiting bands, the odd demo and EP and some useful band-member connections, Australian-cum-British black/thrashers Razor of Occam have finally released their debut album, "Homage To Martyrs" on Metal Blade Records. An odd signing for the label when one views their more recent signings as RoO are very metal, very uncommercial and very unfashionable; nothing like the deathcore wave it is currently riding. RoO are borne of black/thrash metal royalty through the sharing of two current band members of Aussie-cum-Dutch/British/German legends Deströyer 666 and it is this connection that says it all about the band really. It also beggars the obvious question: is there much point in a side-project that sounds almost identical to the 'full-time' band? With D666's name permanently lodged in the psyche through 2000's untouchable "Phoenix Rising" and their first new album almost finally upon us after 7 years of waiting, the motivation must surely have been to utilise the vast amount of downtime to fulfill RoO's destiny to produce an album as every aspect of what makes D666 so good is hear in spades - in the vocal, riffs, leads and drumming departments.

The influence of lead guitarist Ian ('Shrapnel') in D666's work becomes apparent during "Homage To Martyrs" as the echoing spacey solos ring abound during numbers like "Shadow Of The Cross" and "Bite Of Dogmata". The croaky, spittle-drenched words of KK Warslut in that other band form the basis for the vocals of Matt (guitarist/vocalist here, otherwise bassist elsewhere) where religion takes it's usual battering as well as more conversely an element of cosmology too, just to spice things up a bit for you listener. As much to the album's benefit as its detriment, it's 8 songs and 33 minutes fly by in a consistent manner/without deviation (you decide), never quite producing the same killer riffs found in such D666 ditties as "Ghost Dance", "Lone Wolf Winter" and "Ride The Solar Winds" but being far from bad also.

You may have noticed I'm not rolling around in admiration in reviewing "Homage To Martyrs" like many others seem to have been; if this was, and could conceivably be, the new D666 album it would be virtually as expected, but being a side-project of 2 band members I was hoping for something a little more different and robust in it's own territory. Let it be shouted from the rooftops there is nothing plainly wrong in Razor of Occam's debut album as the attention to the metal cause is better than most with a passing reference to always developing the format, but ask yourself, why settle for Virgin Cola when you could get the real thing?

Originally written for

Great Debut - 85%

MetalGuitarist, March 23rd, 2009

When I first heard this album, it blew me away. I then headed on over to Metal Archives and wrote a glowing review for it, because I felt it was my duty to spread word of this awesome band and their debut effort. However, my opinions have changed slightly now that I’ve had time for the inner hype to die down. This is a great album, or at least a good one, but now that I’ve had time to think, I have to say it’s not as perfect as once thought. The tracks sound the same at first, and the album doesn't last very long, but the musicianship and overall quality is great.

This album does have quite a few strong points. It opens with a fast, attention-grabbing track, “Altar of Corruption,” and it never slows down from there. The guitar solos are fast, heavily whammied, and distorted, the rhythm guitar sounds appropriately evil and dirty, while the drums and bass pound away underneath. Vocals are high black-metal-esque shrieks, though a little more decipherable than most true black metal artists, which I find is good. The lyrics expressed by these shrieks don’t cover a lot of new material as far as I can tell (e.g., Altar of Corruption is a religion-basher) but they are still decent and not all of them have a clear meaning, which leaves them open to interpretation.

Unfortunately, these strong points grow to be monotonous. The entire album is like the first track, and although Razor of Occam obviously aren’t the only artist with an album like that, there is not quite enough variation here to make it worthwhile to listen to the entire thing. Here, perhaps, is where the short length becomes good. RoO kept this album short and sweet, and made sure their brutal black/thrash formula didn’t overstay its welcome. Each song on this album is great, but put together the differences begin to blur. So, keeping it around 35 minutes long was a great way to prevent the listener from being bored to death. Still, this puts the album at quite a few minutes shorter than a lot of albums are, so if you've got 15 bucks to spend at a record store, this isn't the best deal out there.

But all in all, this is a powerful debut by an artist that I hope will not disappoint in the future. Yes, there were flaws, no, it’s not a masterpiece, but it’s a step in the right direction for sure. A little more differentiation between the evil, apocalyptic riffs and these guys could go to great lengths.