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Razor Of Occam - "Homage To Martyrs" (CD)

Razor Of Occam - "Homage To Martyrs" CD cover image

"Homage To Martyrs" track listing:

1. Altar Of Corruption (3:55)
2. Bite Of Dogmata (4:21)
3. Day Of Wrath (4:07)
4. Heat Of Battle (4:14)
5. Immortal Code (3:39)
6. Pattern On The Stone (4:08)
7. Flame Bearers (3:30)
8. Shadow Of The Cross (5:50)

Reviewed by on March 26, 2009

"Blackened thrash metal has never sounded better than what Razor Of Occam brings to the table on 'Homage To Martyrs.'"

Black metal has been criticized for years for its childish “Hail Satan” lyrics and its over-reliance on cheesy clichés that come out more laughable then menacing. Razor Of Occam, an Australian blackened thrash band comprised of members of Deströyer 666 and Macabre Omen, avoids these pitfalls on their debut album “Homage To Martyrs.” By employing an intelligent alternative to the gory shock value most associate with black metal, Razor Of Occam display a thought process that is unused by many in the genre. It doesn’t hurt that “Homage To Martyrs” is a brutal album, one that takes no time in pummeling the listener into oblivion.

The album clocks in at a hair over the half-an-hour mark, but Razor Of Occam packs a major punch into that short time. The eight tracks fly by at a breakneck pace, leaving no room for anything melodic, save for some mid-paced riffing on "Day Of Wrath." The band leans closer to thrash than black metal, with steady double bass work and incredible lead work the focus points of “Homage To Martyrs.” The latter, in particular, is an important part of what makes the album so engaging. The solos are prevalent in every track, adding a technical twist to the blackened thrash sound. In particular, “Immortal Code” and “Pattern On The Stone” will leave the listener speechless at the guitar work.

The vocals are raspy in the vein of black metal, but are clear and easy to understand. The bassist provides growled backing vocals on “Bite Of Dogmata,” a powerful dynamic that should have been expanded upon on more tracks. His bass work, however, is deep in the mix, barely audible under the relentless drums and buzz-saw guitar riffs.

“Homage To Martyrs” is a straight-forward album, one that starts out at one speed, and never lets up. Some may find that repetitive or monotonous, but Razor Of Occam makes it work with a quality over quantity approach. Just as the album starts to get plodding, it finishes up in spectacular fashion with the epic “Shadow Of The Cross.” “Homage To Martyrs” would have benefited from at least one or two more tracks, though, as the eight on here just whet the appetite.

While not specifically a concept album, “Homage To Martyrs” has central themes of the false spirituality of religion on the first half and the success of science on the second. Listeners who are offended by bands who criticize religion in any way may want to steer clear of “Homage To Martyrs,” as Razor Of Occam does tear into it harshly; however, the band maintains a sharp mind and manner throughout.

Blackened thrash metal has never sounded better than what Razor Of Occam brings to the table on “Homage To Martyrs.” This album has the potential to become one of the sleeper hits of the year. While some may criticize the overall message of “Homage To Martyrs” or the short length, there is no doubting both the songwriting and musical skills of Razor Of Occam. The band puts on a clinic throughout "Homage To Martyrs," and the only proper reaction is a long head-banging session, complete with frantic air guitar playing.

Highs: Fantastic guitar work, raspy vocals easily distinguishable, tight songwriting, thought-provoking lyrics

Lows: Short length, anti-religious message may throw some off

Bottom line: A pummeling listening experience that has a lot of depth to it underneath the surface.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)