Man. This is really bugging me. I really want to give this album the highest possible score, because it is so perfect in theory. This album is everything one could possibly want. It sounds like the band's diet consisted of nothing but being fed liquid thrash (much like liquid Schwartz, but with ten times the testosterone) intravenously from their birth up to them entering the studio to record this album. The riffs are a monstrous feast of bloodthirsty thrash genocide, semi-regularly interjected with solos that make you feel like ejaculating so copiously that your testicles implode. The vocals are just the type of manic upper range bark that is so perfect for this genre, and the rhythm section bludgeons away like... like... like a guy who is really angry about having run out of extravagant metaphors bludgeons his keyboard. Yet, for some reason I can barely explain - if at all - it just doesn't work for me.
Let me try to make a somewhat appropriate comparison. Those of you who have been into metal for more than just a little while will probably have seen at least one of those concerts at which the band is at its best shape and mood, all members playing their guts out, showing frenzied stage action and covering all their great classic songs, but for some reason the spark just won't jump over to the audience. That's what this album feels like for me. Razor do everything right here, and yet somehow, somewhere between my ears and the thrash-appreciation-center of my brain that crucial neuron doesn't fire, the crucial spark doesn't jump over, leaving me quietly and calmly enjoying the music on this album rather than kicking me into a wild headbanging and airguitar playing frenzy like any great old school thrash metal album should.
The problem is that I cannot pinpoint this feeling to any particular superficially noticeable flaw. It's not like there's anything immediately standing out at which you can point your finger and say "This is what's wrong with this album!" To make matters worse, even going beneath the surface - no matter how deep - doesn't yield any higher quota of results. This album really seems flawless, which makes it all the more frustrating. Believe me, I've tried to explain to myself why this album doesn't work for me, and all I came up with were peanuts, like that the production could have used a little more crunch, or that it could maybe have been a little faster. The core problem of this album is far less concrete and far more elusive than that. It's simply that somehow this album manages to be less than the sum of its parts. All the great elements are there, but instead of coalescing to one great, transcendent masterpiece - like you normally come to expect from an album with all the great elements present in abundance - it simply falls short of accomplishing which by its potential it could (and should) accomplish.
Thinking of how it plays out when I do occasionally - if rarely - put this album on brings one particular anecdote to my mind. Shortly after I had gotten the Bolt Thrower debut which I hadn't heard before, I pretty much immediately - after only a few listens - showed it to a friend that was a huge Bolt Thrower fan as well and hadn't heard the debut before either. There was one particular song I wanted to show him because it had that awesome lead which foreshadowed what Bolt Thrower would sound like later on, but I couldn't for the life of me remember which song that was, so I ended up skipping and searching through every song just to find that one goddamned lead (it was "Psychological Warfare" by the way). A more popular example for the same thing would of course be Slayer's "Angel of Death", the first thirty seconds of which I've probably heard twenty-five times as often as the rest of the song. My point is that when I listen to this album, it really always ends up with me always skipping and searching through the album listening to all the individual cool riffs/parts, never really listening to whole songs, let alone the whole album from start to finish.
In conclusion... Well, I haven't tried it myself yet, but maybe this might work: If you have the record, dub it on tape, then transfer the tape to your computer, giving the whole thing a grittier sound. Then take a sound editing program like CoolEdit or Soundforge to speed up the whole thing by about fifteen percent. Like I said, I haven't tried that myself, and I doubt that that approach will cure the album's problems, but it might help and therefore might be worth a try. That idea aside, I still recommend this album in its original form, simply for the amazing riffs and frantic performance. Like I said, in theory, Razor are doing everything right here, so who knows, maybe you might have more luck than me at getting into the spirit of the album. Don't be discouraged by my disappointment, maybe it just got me on the wrong foot. Who knows. All I can say that it doesn't really do anything for me, but it's still quite an awesome album... in theory.
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