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(Disclaimer: "Thrashterpiece" isn't my word. Credit goes to Revocation for that. Please don't sue me. I like my house.)
I don't even know where to start with this band. This album is simply amazing in every way. This is easily one of THE best thrash revival bands/albums out there. It's fun, it's thrashy, it's catchy, it's technical.
Um, I suppose I'll start with the guitar. The tone is, in my opinion, just right for thrash. It doesn't have the razor shredding tone of black or death metal, isn't severely downtuned like deathcore, isn't overdone like Swedeath, and so on. It hits just the right combination of heavy and melodic, allowing for optimal headbanging at great parts (of which there are many), and equal amounts of soft parts to simply reflect on. The guitarist is very skilled and is rather technical. The riffs are all very fun and catchy, but not in a zany, annoying way, like most of the retro-thrash bands that simply rip off of Exodus' stuff are (“Dude, we're totally about beer, pizza, and zombies, mannn!”). Next, the solos are out of this world. They're highly technical and entirely memorable. Sometimes he does just abuse the whammy, but it always leads into a sick shred.
The bass tone is also perfect. It's audible – completely so, despite what, ahem, some people may say – but not to an annoying extent. It's not an annoying “BRRRRRRMMMM” kind of tone, but it's also not too twangy. It hits the perfect middle ground and compliments the guitar riffs well, sometimes introducing riffs of its own instead of simply following the guitar.
The drummer is, from what I can tell, nothing extraordinary, but he doesn't have to be. This isn't brutal death metal where the drummer has to be churning out blazingly fast and complicated drum beats constantly. This isn't black metal, where blast beats are pinnacle to the music (generically, that is). This is THRASH METAL. This is metal that's all about being fun, having a good time, and just listening to music that you love. The drummer plays pretty simple and generic, yes, but it fits the music perfectly. When the guitarist is getting ready to speed up to a solo, the drummer's already setting the pace. When the song slows down to a more melodic pace, the drummer's already accommodated. Don't let the simplicity fool you: He knows very well what he's doing.
And now, my absolute favorite part of this album (and, hell, this band): the vocals. Alex Citrone and Sam Nevin together have quite a range of vocals (however, as I don't know who does what vocals, I'll generalize with “he”). He mainly uses a kind of punky form of clean singing – think Death Angel meets Bonded by Blood. He knows how to make catchy vocal lines, and he makes sure you know that too. The best example of this is “Lobotomized”, where I was hooked from the first listen. On top of these clean vocals, he utilizes a kind of throaty falsetto, which is nothing special and adds nothing to the music, but it doesn't take anything away either – in fact, it's rather humorous. He also uses a raspy, mid-to-high ranged growl, though a lot less than I'd like him to use it. I like his growl a lot, and it fits every song he uses it in (“Slave to the Maze”, “Slaughterotica” and maybe some others, but these are the ones that stuck out the most). Finally, he also uses a strange deep voice, though only twice: once in “Lobotomized” and once in “Slave to the Maze”. This deeper voice is rather like something you'd hear in hardcore punk, but he's not just shouting his throat out; he's still singing. In fact, in “Slave to the Maze”, he's borderline rapping, but somehow he just doesn't come across as exceedingly homosexual like nu-metal bands do.
There are, of course, also gang shouts. They can be rather thin sounding at points, but they don't take away from the music. Not counting the falsetto scream at the end of the amazing and otherwise instrumental “Dawn of the Shred”, the first vocals you're given a taste of are gang shouts in “Annihilator”. This threw me for a spin at first, because, well, I've never heard an album that's done that before.
Now, I realize I haven't touched on that many specific songs, other than for examples. The reason for this is, 1) nobody likes song-by-song reviews (except me; I like them), and 2) I would prefer that people also judge this album with their own opinions. Yes, I've masturbated over this band throughout this review, but don't just take my word for it: Go look up this album. Download it, buy it, whatever, but check this out. It's worth your time, and you will not regret it. Even my retro-thrash hating friend said the one song I sent him wasn't bad at all.
Despite what I just said, I'll list the standout tracks:
Dawn of the Shred
Bleed on Command
Slave to the Maze
You're damn right, I just named every song on the album.
When I first heard Razormaze two years ago, my impression was "These guys could have been on Metal Massacre 7!" The song that hooked me was "Lobotomized", with its memorable vocal melody, exemplifying that which sets them apart from the crowd. Their sense of melody and ability to write technical yet catchy songs left me in suspense awaiting their debut album.
Razormaze didn't disappoint - The True Speed of Steel is a collection of eight memorable songs full of tight musicianship and sweep-picked shredding leads. The album starts out with a bass-and-drum jam which morphs into the guitar-crazy instrumental "Dawn of the Shred." Track two, "Annihilator," introduces the guitar and vocal hooks that get inside your brain with repeated listens. Their influences seem to run the gamut from NWOBHM to Cacophony-esque shred-thrash and more. The band keeps things catchy and interesting throughout, even injecting a spaghetti-western feel into the song "Desperado," probably my favorite off the album.
Razormaze are a technical thrash band playing songs that you can headbang to, play air guitar to AND sing along to. If that's what you like in music, check them out right now, for your own good!!
'87-'89 was a period in Thrash time when all the great Thrash bands were starting to loose their edge, and waves of generic, rip-off Thrash bands started hitting the scene. Well, in '09 and '10 it's happening again, and the pinnacle of bad, generic Thrash bands, Razormaze, released "The True Speed of Steel".
"The True Speed of Steel" is by far the worst Retro-Thrash album out. The vocals sound horrible, and the same throughout every song, the riffs are boring and EXTREMELY forgettable, and the song writing is a terrible attempt at humor.
So, now I ask myself, "where to start?" I guess I'll start with the vocals. The vocals are the worst part, they sound like a child is singing, a child trying to sound heavy. The lyrics are suppose to be humorous, but the vocals are so bad that I wind up laughing at the singing instead. And the gang chants, seriously? That is the most overused gimmick in Retro-Thrash, and so far only Municipal Waste has been able to do it right. Gang chants are supposed to be powerful, and slam the chorus into your brain, instead, Razormaze's chants come off sounding like three dudes, bored in room, half-assing the chants. And Razormaze overuse the chants to an extreme. I could go on all day about the terrible vocals, but I think the song "Slaughterotica" sums up everything I could say about the vocals.
And now the bass. What bass? I didn't hear a single bass note in this entire album.
Moving on, the drums. The drumming ranges from pretty bad to decent. There are a few moments where the drummer sounds like he has some talent, but is just too uninspired to attempt anything good. These occasions; however, are few and far between. A majority of the time, the drummer just plays simplistic drum patterns, much in the same way as Lars Ulrich.
If the album is so bad, why 10%? That 10% comes from the guitar, but not the riffs, the solos. I'll talk about the riffs first. The riffs are boring, and forgettable. I don't remember half of the riffs, and the ones I do remember are lame Rock, Metal and Thrash combinations that sound like an amateur attempt at combination Motorhead with Metallica. The guitar player does however whip up some decent solos as if from nowhere. I'm not saying their amazing, but they are decent solos.
In conclusion, avoid this album. This is the reason why people hate Retro-Thrash. Clearly the band are just trying to capitalize on the Thrash movement, as many bands did in the '80s. Don't buy it, don't download it, don't waste time on this band.