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Razor - Evil Invaders (1985) - Review

Updated on June 24, 2019
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I write classic "good vs evil" creative writing pieces with smart twists inspired by vintage action cinema, gaming, and heavy metal.

Lineup and Track Listing

Razor (on this album) are:

Stace SHEEPDOG McLaren - Vocals
Dave Carlo - Guitars
Mike Campagnolo - Bass
Mike M-BRO Embro - Drums

Tracks:

1. Nowhere Fast (Instrumental)

2. Cross Me Fool

3. Legacy of Doom

4. Evil Invaders

5. Iron Hammer

6. Instant Death

7. Cut Throat

8. Speed Merchants

9. Tortured Skull

10. Thrashdance

Evil Invaders Music Video

Razor is a Canadian thrash metal band formed in 1983 in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Referred to as one of the country's big 4 of thrash metal next to Sacrifice, Anhiliator and Voivod, Razor is among my most favourite thrash metal bands for a variety of reasons; their no-nonsense approach to their music with anger, heavy riffs and aggression seen in the lyrics and vocals.

Razor also draws inspiration from the likes of Motorhead since most songs have elements of speed metal to them; up-tempo, technical riffs reminiscent of some post NWOBHM bands. Although Razor had 3 prior albums that were also good in their own right, Evil Invaders is the one to start with considering its a collection of not only everything Razor learned from past releases but also building up from that - forming their distinct sound.

10 tracks of memorable riffs that are complimented by ear-piercing guitar solos and banshee screeching to make your spine grow hair just to stand up. No demonic gimmicks or tryhard posturing for the sake of offending uptight people, no worship of popular bands of the decade (to the point of just becoming a tribute band - see also: Sodom's In the Sign of Evil and Witching Metal) - just musical rage with technique and standout moments to magnify its effect.

It's metal so it's supposed to sound like a blast furnace next to an airshow!

— A minor chunk of Metalheads

Evil Invaders sounds like an ongoing attack where it feels like the fight is all around without any respite or cover - immersing the listener in a 38-minute brawl where the rulebook is not only thrown out but spat upon. Right from the jump, Razor goes hard with heavy riffs that like the namesake, cuts through the ears with ripping acceleration. Dave Carlo's guitar skills are masterful with speed picking and powerful muting while the lead parts have a savage, chaotic feel.

Mike Embro on the drums might as well direct artillery fire since his percussion sounds like artillery shells hitting water - giving the drumming a "splash" sound which also works really well - harmonising with the chunky riffs. The vocals add to the intensity of the album, barking like an angry German shepherd with interludes of shrieks and wails to make any air raid siren operator panic. While it is hard to pick out a highlight here since the album is a seamless reel of honest, simple and quality thrash metal, I'd still say my favourite tracks are (if forced to choose) Iron Hammer, Evil Invaders, Tortured Skull, Instant Death, Speed Merchants and Legacy of Doom. (I still recall the look on a conservative Pakistani girl's face when I showed her Tortured Skull.)

Finally, no matter how much some metalheads may dismiss it, ("it's metal, its supposed to sound like a blast furnace next to an airshow") production quality is very important since you need to be able to hear the music to enjoy and understand, therefore, it needs a mention. Evil Invaders was indeed well produced while having the lo-fi feel to add character to a thrash metal release; having a slight metallic hiss to the guitars and a rougher tone to the vocals where the shrieks sound extra loud. All those elements add to the identity and character of the album.

"They told us it would never be

And man kind's race would live free

Free of pain and free of war

And now the sun will shine no more

Deep deception covered with lies

Mass pollutants filling the skies

Minorities' warnings forgotten by all

Truth comes too soon and majorities fall"

— Instant Death, Razor, 1985. (from Evil Invaders album)

Lastly, I am the type of metalhead that isn't enamoured with fantasy (Tolkien, myths etc) or horror/demonic/Satanic themes; preferring my metal to be grounded in the real world; cue the reason as to why I love Razor so much. This band goes for the real-world theme as seen in the lyrics and their mood; a dark late 70s/early 80s action film gone wrong. (In the best possible way) E.g. Instant Death. This grounded approach undoubtedly would appeal to more metalheads who not only live in our troubled world but also grew up watching 80s action films showcasing what happens when things go from bad to worse in the 20th century.

Overall, Razor releases all the pent up rage the everyday man feels through the heavy, fast and mindless (in the best possible way) guitar work that is punctuated by well-placed shredding solos that have a melody to them while the glass-shattering screams warn of an incoming attack. Razor didn't try to mimic its more popular peers nor did they try to summon a reaction from the public - they just wanted to hammer out an impactful metal album. Evil Invaders also lives in our world lyrically, therefore, is a more immersive listen as your mind brawls in dark alleys in a way to make Charles Bronson proud, the former being an inspiration for the band's 1988 outing Violent Restitution. (Review coming soon)

Buy The Album Here

© 2019 Jake Clawson

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