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Razor – Cycle Of Contempt Award winner

Cycle Of Contempt
by Thomas Kumke at 07 November 2022, 5:37 AM

RAZOR hailing from Guelph, Ontario are back with album number nine. The Canadian Thrash Metal icons have a long history and besides their nine albums, they have also three EPs and a live album to their name. “Cycle Of Contempt” was produced by Dave Carlo and has a length of about 43 minutes. The album was released via Pennsylvanian label Relapse Records, which are specialized in Death Metal, Grindcore, and Sludge.

The album starts, after a short tension-building intro, with old school Thrash Metal at its finest. “Flames Of Hatred” has all the attributes that love Thrash Metal fans all over the world: tight guitar riffing, speed, aggression, harsh vocals highly pitched for most of the time, and cool lead guitar solos that are technical, but maintain the aggression level of the track. The opening song of “Cycle Of Contempt” has all this and it is a great way to open the album. “Flames Of Hatred” has been released as lyric video and the YouTube link is given below.

Jabroni” maintains the sound and aggression of “Flames Of Hatred”. The sound and especially the vocals reminded me on EXODUS at times, which is not a bad thing. “Jabroni” includes a classical mid-tempo bridge for the lead guitar solo which introduces the end of the track. There is no breathing space on the album as the Thrash Metal onslaught continues with “Off My Meds”, which is an absolute banger. RAZOR have no mercy with the listener, the staccato-type of riffing starts immediately after “Jabroni” had finished. All songs on the album are short, intense, and have the kick-in-the-face attitude. “Off My Meds” is played at crazy speed as all other songs. It is all cool song for the pit and highlight is the lead guitar solo. For me, “Off My Meds” is one of the album highlights.

Crossed” starts with a short guitar solo, before the pummeling continues. RAZOR do not vary their sound a lot and that is good. “Crossed” includes a bit versatility in the sound and especially in the vocals with Danko Jones and Rob Urbinati (SACRIFICE) acting as guest vocalists. “First Rate Hate” also changes things a little bit. It is one of the few mid-tempo tracks, but RAZOR understand it perfectly to maintain aggression and that is down to the guitar riffing and the vocals. The bass lines are more dominant here. Eventually, “First Rate Hate” does not finish without raising the tempo to insanity. Most notably is the absence of a lead guitar solo.

The title song starts with a sluggish rhythm and a crunching bass. The first part is an instrumental. The bass introduces the second part of the track and that is played at the usual high speed. The guitar riffing for the verse and chorus parts has more open chords, the staccato riffing is reserved for the final part of the track which goes alongside a frantic speed and another cool lead guitar solo. After the two previous tracks with considerable mid-tempo parts, “Setup” is back with crazy speed, fast and tight riffing, and lots of aggression. There a short tempo switches towards mid-tempo for the chorus parts and they fit perfectly into the overall framework of the track. The lead guitar solo is arguably the highlight of the track.

Punch Your Face In” starts with strong and dominant bass lines, before the speed attack continues with crushing guitar riffing and rawness of the vocals, which is evident during the very abrupt chorus vocal line. “All Fist Fighting” raises the intensity even more. After the short bass intro, it is a merciless pummeling with direct and simple riffing and a few punky vibes in the chorus. The lead guitar solo is likewise simple and dirty and perfectly contributes to the track. “Darkness Falls” has a slow and a bit atypical start with dark and almost epic melodies. This takes about a minute, and then the restart leads into known territories of rawness and speed. The guitar riffing sounds slightly catchier compared to most of the songs and the bass lines are quite dominant. The main part of “Darkness Falls” is fairly short with only one verse part and two chorus parts. The lead guitar solo is simple and direct, but very contributing. “Darkness Falls” directly goes into the final track “King Shit”, which sounds a bit different compared to the rest of the album with the vocals approaching the track slightly different by going with the melodies and by having a lot of background vocal support. It is not only that, “King Shit” has a few Rock ‘n Roll vibes and it is more a fun song especially with the background vocals. It is not quite the way how I expected the album to finish, but it sounds cool.

RAZOR deliver an excellent old school Thrash Metal album. After more than 30 years of Thrash, it is surely not easy to find the right balance between a pummeling traditional Thrash Metal on one hand and still sounding fresh and creative on the other hand. RAZOR find that balance. “Cycle Of Contempt” has all main Thrash Metal ingredients: rawness, aggression, speed, the flesh-ripping guitar riffing, and rough vocals. RAZOR do not experiment with their sound; they stick to their guns and fans will love that. The album is well produced. “Cycle Of Contempt” is clearly one of the Thrash Metal highlights in 2022, and the album belongs into the album collection of Thrash Metal fans.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Flames Of Hatred
2. Jabroni
3. Off My Meds
4. A Bitter Pill
5. Crossed
6. First Rate Hate
7. Cycle Of Contempt
8. Setup
9. Punch Your Face In
10. All Fist Fighting
11. Darkness Falls
12. King Shit
Bob Reid – Vocals
Dave Carlo – Guitars
Rider Johnson – Drums
Mike Capagnolo – Bass
Record Label: Relapse Records


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