Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Here Comes the Most Intense Thrash Metal Album of 1990
If there ever was a studio album in the history of the band Razor that should have the words massive intensity to describe it, 1990’s Shotgun Justice may be that album. It has a really furious finish combining aggression and speed unimaginable to our ears. Shotgun Justice would end up being the last appearance for a new release by drummer Rob Mills. The vocals in the end by Bob Reid are even more ferocious than that of Tom Araya and if you are able to outdo a legend like Tom in the vocal department in terms of ferocity then that is really saying something. Though I must say that Tom Araya is the better vocalist as far as thrash metal is concerned.
Though the way that this album starts you might wonder just how much of a thrash metal album it is going to be. The first song “Miami” describes how a once vibrant city such as Miami was ruined by corruption and crime. The album lyrically focuses on the important social and political issues such as fighting against a corrupt society like in songs such as “United by Hate.” What you are about to hear if you decide to listen to this 1990 album is the most intense album of thrash metal especially for that time. Yes, albums such as Reign in Blood or Bonded by Blood have speed, heavy riffs, and screaming vocals but Razor takes that intensity to a whole new level. The intensity, ferocity, and speed really feels like it is like a freight train that can overwhelm your ears. “Stabbed in the Back” is a song that lyrically isn’t about what you may think. The song is a rebellion against those that have turned their backs on thrash metal and instead have chosen to adopt a softer, and older sound such as was the case in the 1970s. Shotgun Justice is an album that takes the anger and rage up a notch but like I said, I do prefer the vocals of Tom Araya slightly over Bob Reid but they are both good vocalists for thrash metal.
Is Razor Canada's Equivalent of Slayer?
If Slayer was one of the bands that defined the thrash metal scene of the 1980s in the United States then Razor is one of the bands that set Canadian thrash metal on a solid course to success and recognition.
An Interesting Observation
Shotgun Justice is the first album to feature Bob Reid on lead vocals and I get the sense that he sounds like Joe Comeau. However, Joe has the edge on Bob Reid because Joe can do more different vocal styles. In terms of the song structure, this album is not much different from the band’s albums such as Open Hostility. For some reason albums by Razor don’t feel as intense as albums by Pantera or Exodus do. The songs begin quickly one after the other as if the band wants to waste no time and they just want to get into the music and head bang to the songs. Songs such as “Electric Torture” have a riffing style that the band Annihilator would use years later in 2001 for their album Carnival Diablos. However, both of these bands were formed at almost the same time and were influential in shaping Canada’s thrash metal scene.
The only con to this album is that it lacks in the melody and creativity department but for those of you that love albums that are pure speed and aggression then this 1990 album will suit your tastes for sure. “The Puglist” is the song that ends this very good album and the main riff is mid-tempo which is somewhat melodic and helps to break the monotony just a little. Near the end of this song and almost 40 minute barrage of ear piercing thrash metal Razor ends their finest album with a flourish!
© 2021 Ara Vahanian