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Razormaze - "The True Speed Of Steel" (CD)

Razormaze - "The True Speed Of Steel" CD cover image

"The True Speed Of Steel" track listing:

1. Dawn Of The Shred
2. Annihilator
3. Slaughterotica
4. Desperado
5. Bleed On Command
6. Lobotomized
7. Dipsomaniac
8. Slave To The Maze

Reviewed by on September 11, 2009

"'Slaughterorica' has a hysterically poppy chorus for being a song about getting off on murder. "

You've got to admire a band that's as intentionally over-the-top as Razormaze is on "The True Speed Of Steel." The album's filled to the brim with metal attitude, with just enough of a wink to let you know the band isn't taking itself too seriously.

The joke starts before you even put the disc in your player, with the CD booklet featuring an image of the guys in the band grinning ear-to-ear. Look at the credits and you'll note that Dave Carlino is listed as "lead shred," while his compatriot Alex Citrone is listed as "lead vocals/shred."

Both shredders head straight to work on the instrumental "Dawn Of The Shred," which features sound ranging from prog rock to thrash in the space of a few moments. It's a fun exercise in shredding that also shows off bassist Sam Nevin to great effect.

"Slaughterorica" has a hysterically poppy chorus for being a song about getting off on murder. That said, it's also where Citrone's "classic metal" high screams start wearing a little old. Also, there's an over-emphasis on background vocals. Still, the shred at the end is mighty.

"Desperado," which reminds me a bit of Anthrax's "Lone Justice" in terms of subject matter, starts out with an excellent solo, but goes off the rails around the middle when the band gets cute and plays the theme to "The Good, The Bad And The Ugly."

"Bleed On Command" has Citrone going from his clean vocals to a growl that only sporadically works, and features the same overpowering background vocals in the chorus.

"Lobotomized" has a great middle section that further reminds me of classic Anthrax, which is never a bad thing, and the warp-speed "Dipsomaniac" made me look up a word in the dictionary (the term refers to the compulsive intake of alcohol).

Instrumentally, the band is spot-on. Unlike many bands who cite death metal as an influence, Razormaze actually has a featured role for the bass player, and drummer Nick Lazzaro also puts on a good performance.

The vocals are a mixed bag for me. There's nothing particularly wrong with Citrone's voice, but he does occasionally overdo it with the shrieks, making the band seem pretty cartoonish — even at the times when it doesn't seem entirely intentional (for example, in the chorus to "Slave To The Maze").

All that said, "The True Speed Of Steel" offers 32 minutes of fine-quality shredding — and any album that can do that is ok in my book.

Highs: Superb playing throughout, but "Dawn Of The Shred" and "Lobotomized" stand out.

Lows: The vocals are a mixed bag and the band overdoes the joke on "Desperado."

Bottom line: Concentrate on the shredding and you'll enjoy this 32 minutes of metal.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 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)