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Scream for me, Sheepdog - 81%

Felix 1666, September 12th, 2019

Hear the cry of Sheepdog at the beginning, realize immediately that the world is not the worst place to be and make yourself at home. Razor start with a very typical speedster, only the vocals are missing on "The Marshall Arts". It does not matter, the long-drawn scream that kicks off the album makes up for this. The Canadians put many extremely effective riffs into this opener and there can be no doubt that this number belongs to the highlights of the full-length.

By the way, the album is filled to the brim. Razor challenge the listener over the marathon distance of 14 songs. Maybe less would have been more, but the majority of the songs mirrors the unbroken energy of the formation - and we have to keep the fact in mind that this was their fifth full-length within less than four years. As an aside, the epic experiments of "Custom Killing" do not occur again and that's both a blessing and a curse. Due to the fact that all songs rely on a comparable compact pattern, the album is not totally immune against monotonous sections. Fortunately, great choruses like that of the outstanding "Behind Bars" or excellent riffs like the one that opens the last track bring the band always back on track.

It goes without saying that the full-length lives on the pulsating guitar work which throws an overdose of sharp riffs and leads into the audience and the vocals of Sheepdog. He connects insane screams with his normal yet aggressive voice and this combination has a certain charm, even when it comes to songs like "I'll Only Say it Once". This track is a representative for the few pieces which do not lack velocity, but the last iota of compositional accuracy is missing. These songs do not hurt the flow of the album, it is anything but a waste of time to listen to them, but they do not leave a lasting impression. Only "Discipline" must be branded as filler, even though its speed part at the end prevents a total failure.

Although the average velocity is, of course, really high, Razor do not only concentrate on a maximum of speed. They are clever enough to ensure a more than sufficient level of dynamic by slowing down the pace from time to time. And the aura of the less rapid sequences is not less dangerous than that of the speedy eruptions. "Violent Restitution" has a menacing mood from the beginning to the end and the title track holds the best mid-tempo part of the entire album after the second chorus. Fun fact, its fantastic riff reappears on Desaster's "Angelwhore". You will find it in "Havoc", if I am not mistaken and there it works excellently as well. There is another thing that works - "Violent Restitution" boasts with a sound that fits the genre. The guitars have this edgy touch that makes speed and thrash metal to something very special, the drums do not lack power and Sheepdog is in the eye of the storm. In contrast to the improvable background choirs, his voice marks more or less the epicentre of the mix. Only the bass guitar falls by the wayside, but this has happened roughly a million times in the history of metal productions and it does not make sense to complain about the standard.

To be clear: if "Violent Restitution" is no part of your collection so far, you should close the gap immediately. And the same applies for any other album of the Canadian legend as well. Razor have embodied the spirit of speed and thrash metal like almost no other band, not least because of the fact they never were as successful as Testament, Exodus or Slayer. Yet they have always been likeable while embodying the perfect thrash metal attitude. Already Sheepdog's scream at the beginning of this great item of their discography will remind you of this.