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Album Review: "Cycle of Contempt" by Canadian Thrash Metal Band Razor

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

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Razor's New Album Has Bad Production for 2022 Standards

Canadian thrash metal band Razor as of September 23, 2022 has finally come out with a news studio album after more than 25 years of no new material. This new album is called Cycle of Contempt. Prior to this album, their last release was Decibels in 1997. I just stumbled upon this album by chance and I decided to check this out. The production for 2022 standards is shockingly bad. It is as if they turned down the sound to make it quieter than it should be. The drums dominate the sound more than the guitars do and when this happens, the production will more than likely suffer as it does in this case. Here we are in 2022 with more advanced tools and there is no excuse for these Canadians to not have more than decent production for their latest studio album. This is one of the two flaws that must be addressed. We could sugarcoat things or be in denial about the bad production but we wouldn’t be providing an accurate feel of the album.

The Songs In This Album Have Bad Lyrics and They Cover Pretty Much the Same Subject Matter

The second flaw about the album is that the songs cover pretty much the same subject matter. The lyrics are very much like angry rants from middle aged men about how much they hate life. The last song is titled King S*** and this is not a typing error. The last song actually has that title and the chorus is just so badly botched. Bob Reid sounds like he has this really hoarse voice and he sounds drunk. If you are going to compose a song, make sure that the title is appropriate for your audience. At least these guys could have come up with a title for the song called “King Thrash” instead even if that title is cheesy as well. In that instance, the song would not have a horrifically bad title. After the 8th song “Setup” I was shaking my head in disbelief and had to step away even if it meant having breakfast. The songs are focused lyrically about rage and inflicting hate on others. Songs such as Flames of Hatred and First-Rate Hate are a few examples. If these guys were going to wait 25 years before releasing new material they could have done far better than this! It is one thing to try to be original but what these guys did is create a thrash metal album with some of the most toxic lyrics you will see. Bob Reid at times is really straining his voice and that certainly doesn’t help the album. You have to wonder what has happened to this band that the members resorted to having lyrical content about people doing what they can to show others who is the boss and to get even with others through the power of the fist.

An Interesting Observation About the Band Members For This New Album

There is a new drummer, Rider Johnson who is 20-25 years younger than the other members in the band which in and of itself creates a sort of interesting generational dynamic. Rider Johnson born in 1988 is still a young member of what is referred to as Generation Y. The other members were born in the early to later 1960s and will reach retirement age within the next 8 to 10 years. Nonetheless, Rider Johnson is much younger than the other band members and hopefully these guys can coexist well in terms of being able to function as a band.

The Songwriting Is This Album's Greatest Strength

It might seem like all is bad with this new album by Razor but that’s not the case. The songs are good and provide a more modern feel of the band Ritual Carnage for those of you that remember and like that band. Razor has to clean up their lyrics and improve the production. If those two flaws were not present, Cycle of Contempt would be scored around 80 to 85 points. Or would it? Analyzing this album near its end again, the songs may be better than on the album Violent Restitution and the sound on here is obviously more modern even if the production sometimes disappoints. Cycle of Contempt is one of those albums by Razor that is an acquired taste and it takes at least 4 to 5 full listens to have the music sink in. It is about time for this thrash metal band from Guelph, Ontario Canada to return and provide us with a new album. The delay was much too long but what we have here is a good modern day thrash metal album that needs tweaks in the production and a more varied lyrical approach.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2022 Ara Vahanian

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