Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Musical Style of the Album Open Hostility
Open Hostility is the 1991 studio album by Canadian thrash metal band Razor and those of you that enjoyed their 1988 studio album Violent Restitution should enjoy this one as well. However beginning in 1989 the band had a different vocalist, the one for this album being Bob Reid. His vocals are more rough and raspy compared to that of the previous vocalist Stace McLaren. At a time when many bands were changing their style and sound, Razor was one of the few bands that didn’t slow down or go more in the mainstream direction. This album however does have that sort of Slayer feel to it in some respects. Also, the album does not have a single ballad style song on it and this album is straightforward thrash riffs with solos and not much in the way of what we would consider to be melodic but for an avid thrash metal fan, Razor’s Open Hostility should be one to enjoy.
Bob Reid Replaced Stace "Sheepdog" McLaren on Lead Vocals
However, it must be mentioned that Bob Reid was with the band for their 1990 album Shotgun Justice. Bob Reid is a competent vocalist and he sounds somewhat like Steve Souza though his vocals aren’t as raspy as Steve Souza. The riffing is, well, still with the same intensity as before. The album has this sort of don’t mess with me kind of attitude. This is seen in songs such as Road Gunner, Cheers, and Red Money.
There is a slight stylistic difference in this album compared to Violent Restitution and this is the fact that this album does not sound as raw so there is a change even if it is slight. The riffing resembles that of Reign in Blood. A person that has listened to enough thrash metal over the years will notice this quality. Also, the drums on this album are programmed but that does not affect the quality of the songs at all.
Analysis of the Songs In Protest and Sucker for Punishment
This album begins with the heavy anti-censorship song called “In Protest.” The kind of society described in this song may be relevant to even today as certain videos may be banned for various reasons. “Sucker for Punishment” is another song that is relevant lyrically for 2021 as someone working a factory type job can be replaced at a moment’s notice. The employee is just treated as less than a worker as they are expendable.
Even if we think that we will not lose our job, when there is downsizing as companies attempt to save money, employees are let go. The song is trying to point out the disadvantages of corporate work.
The album actually addresses social issues that are even relevant for today and it is impressive that these guys somehow knew at a certain level what was going to happen. “Free Lunch” is a song about a worker that has gotten so lazy that he sleeps in all day and does not show up for work like he used to. His boss is not his mother or father and he will know when he has been taken advantage of. “Iron Legions” is a song that is lyrically about what the bog corporate bosses do as they pollute the environment as the acid rain begins to fall. It is only a matter of time before the masses of people rise up and demand changes and accountability. If there is a musical con to this album it is that the riffs follow pretty much the same speed and aggressive structure to it as they just chug along like a car motor that sounds the same every time you drive it. The album ends with the thrash driven song “End of the War” which is basically an anti-war kind of song similar to the song FFF on Cryptic Writings.
Even with the same riff structure, Razor’s 1991 studio album Open Hostility still offers the listener a decent thrash metal album without being too over the top aggressive like Pantera. But it could be said that this album takes the anger and emotion to a new level because the album doesn’t have that raw 1980s sound.
Rate the Album Open Hostility by the Band Razor
© 2021 Ara Vahanian