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Razor Of Occam - Homage To Martyrs (7,5/10) - Australia - 2009

Genre: Black Metal / Thrash Metal
Label: Metal Blade Records
Playing time: 33:43
Band homepage: Razor Of Occam

Tracklist:

1.       Altar Of Corruption

2.       Bite Of Dogmata

3.       Day Of Wrath

4.       Heat Of Battle

5.       Immortal Code

6.       Pattern On The Stone

7.       Flame Bearers

8.       Shadow Of The Cross

Razor Of Occam - Homage To Martyrs

Seen in conjunction with the actual music contained herein this band certainly has one of the more subtly brilliant monikers. One should never read too much into a name – especially in the weird and wonderful world of extreme Metal where band names are adopted by virtue of how “cool” they sound – but these guys have chosen their name well. Occam’s Razor is a reductionist theory that postulates that whenever one is trying to formulate a hypothesis it is pertinent to make the least amount of assumptions as possible. Table all the possibilities/variables and then choose the most ‘straightforward’ one, so to speak. This emphasis on succinctness can also be felt in the band’s music, a Blackened Thrash blitzkrieg that has been trimmed of all fat or fluff.

OK, enough with all the pseudo-intellectualism... Is any of it actually good? Well yes, of course it is! You can never go wrong with a good mix of Black and Thrash Metal; the two simply compliment each other too well. It has to be said that nothing on here is terribly original though – if you’re familiar with bands like DESASTER, NIFELHEIM and DESTROYER 666 then you’ve definitely heard this before. Speaking of the latter band, RAZOR OF OCCAM features one half of their line-up in its ranks, with members of obscure British act ADORIOR making up the other half. A strong line-up for sure, and if you like D666 albums like “Unchain The Wolves” and “Phoenix Rising” then this album will kick your puny little ass all over the place. From the frenetic (yet heavily solo-laden) assault of “Altar Of Corruption” through to the speedy blackness of “Flame Bearers” and “Pattern On The Stone” the quality is kept high and the musicianship is spot on. Once the whirlwind of riffs kick in at the 2:20 during the latter song and the melodic leads take over a short while later a hefty bout of limb flailing is in order! BATHORY is another obvious influence here but the tightness and surprisingly smart lyrics set these Australian émigrés (they are now based in the UK) apart from the oft sloppy exploits of the 80s Black/Thrash hordes.

It’s great to see Metal Blade complimenting their already diverse roster with quality acts like these – they have the retro-Thrash base covered with bands like FUELED BY FIRE, while RAZOR OF OCCAM covers the more extreme (evil) side of things. “Homage To Martyrs” was recorded at the famed Necromorbus Studios with Tore Stjerna (FUNERAL MIST, WATAIN, NEX and about a thousand others) twiddling the knobs. It imbues the album with a nice “thick”, dark, yet always clear sound that fits their kind of music extremely well.

Bottom line: if you love either Black or Thrash Metal, as well as an amalgamation of the two then you owe it to yourself to check out RAZOR OF OCCAM. Tight, heavy, atmospheric... all the requisite elements are here and in full flight. “Homage To Martyrs” is definitely an album worth your time.

(Online April 19, 2009)

Neil Pretorius



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