RAZOR — Evil Invaders (review)

RAZOR — Evil Invaders album cover Album · 1985 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
I'll confess that I'm a little torn between rating this album three stars or four. Back in 1985, when I was totally embracing the thrash and speed metal scene, I was thrilled to hear of a Canadian band that were so heavy and fast. Of course the Big Four were American and there were also Exodus, Nuclear Assault and others, and over in Europe there were some awesome bands like Celtic Frost, Kreator, and Bathory. But what about my home country? Fortunately, there was a Canadian metal magazine called "Metallion" that introduced new homegrown bands and always featured an interview with at least one Canuck band per issue. (It also had women of metal centerfolds featuring Lee Aaron - mmm, Lita Ford - nice, and Wendy-O-Williams - get back!) So I learned about Voivod, Sacrifice, and Razor.

To describe Razor's music on "Evil Invaders" simply would be to say that it sounds like some massive piston in the engine of some huge machine and that piston is working full tilt. Most of the songs drive for speed, especially the guitar playing. When the opening instrumental blasts through the speakers, you get a clear idea of what the whole album is going to sound like with regards to the music. There are ripping riffs, machinegun-speed chords, and a steady speedy drum beat. Once you add the vocals of Sheepdog in the second track, "Cross Me Fool" and you know that these guys are not going to sing you any acoustic lullabies.

And what about this Sheepdog dude? His vocals are gruff and from the back of the throat. He sounds like Hell's Angels biker shouting death threats. That is until he lets loose with one of his screams. Incredible! Now he sounds like a Nazgûl from Lord of the Rings. The vocals certainly suit the speed and aggression of the music and the rage in some of the lyrics. The thing I always liked back in the mid-eighties was that I could actually understand most of what Sheepdog was singing. Or shouting. Or screaming.

Track after track, this album continues to be like a steam locomotive from hell blasting through everything. The guitar solos typically don't shred but go for a bit of style (i.e. note cluster bursts followed by bending strings followed by some tradition metal soloing), something that sounds tough to do in a short time - short because that train is not slowing down and the next verse is coming up soon!

Some of my old favourites were and still are "Legacy of Doom", "Evil Invaders" (which is one of the slower songs and sounds very much classic Judas Priest-inspired), "Instant Death" for its cool opening riff, and "Tortured Skull" for some more cool riffing and a bucket load of those hellish screams. Jeez, dude. Bust a vocal chord lately?

I recently picked up this old album because I was curious about the Canadian bands I used to listen to in the eighties and I found that this album which I had much love for once was not so easy to find for a reasonable price. Fortunately Amazon Canada had it in stock for almost half of what other places were listing it for. Listening to it again, I still remember the fun of this album and the great energy and aggression that went into the music. But if I may say anything against it now - 30 years later - is that the similarity of the songs drags the album down a little. The beat is mostly the same - fast but not as fast as future bands would deliver and rarely deviating. The drums don't do much to be memorable either. The real speed comes from the guitars which deliver some great riffs but also tend to speed burn their way through almost every track. What I'm saying is a little more variety would have been appreciated, at least by me. It's what I loved about Metallica and some of early Slayer stuff: they could deliver slow and heavy riffs in between the charging machine gun blasts. And that's why I am uncertain if the album is really worth 4 stars or three. It's a great thrash album that sounds like Anvil and Motorhead in fifth gear. It's just that it stays in fifth for nearly all of the 38 minutes.

One thing that's funny to see now is the Terminator album cover. The movie came out in 1984 and this album in 1985. Did anyone cry "ripoff!" or was there some deal worked out? It's also kinda funny to see the band photos now. Oh, yeah! That was like some wicked cool metal band image in 1985. Heh, heh.

I bought the next album, too, back in the day. "Malicious Intent" was, as I recall, similar to "Evil Invaders" but not as impressive and included a song called "KMA", which stood for "kiss my ass". And that's exactly what the lyrics were about: "Kiss. My ass. (come on, pucker up baby!)" When I checked out that album on Amazon I noticed that the re-issue excludes that particular song. Too bad. It's the only one I remember now from that album.
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more than 2 years ago
Wendy-O looked pretty fierce and had only black electrician's tape on her nipples. I remember the centerfold. There was also Darby Mills of Headpins (hide your whiskey!) and Fiona who was pretty darn cute. I should have kept those magazines.
Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Good review, sounds good. I'll have to give it a listen sometime.
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
"Lee Aaron - mmm, Lita Ford - nice, and Wendy-O-Williams - get back!)"

ha ha, hilarious :-) I´m afraid of Wendy O too :-s

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