Marshall Law - Razorhead
Heavy Metal
15 songs (71:00)
Release year: 2008
Reviewed by Pete

If there's one band who've earned the mantle of 'metal acts who never say die' it's Marshall Law. They've not had the best of luck, coverage and support from the music business. They started to gain notoriety at the turn of the nineties just when Grunge was about to lay waste to metal (I'll never forgive grunge for this). Bands such as Marshall Law seemed to disappear but somehow etched a living touring with bands like Thunderhead, Dio and Metal Church. All I can say is thank God they managed to keep going because their performance at Bloodstock in 2006 was excellent and demonstrated that not only did the band still have what it takes, their older material stood up quite well. Since then I've been waiting for Razorhead and I was getting worried that my anticipation was maybe too fervent. I was also afraid that my high hopes would come crashing down, and that fear was growing when the track-listing numbered fifteen. Had the band crammed too much into this new release?

Razorhead is a long listen but even on first spin, during a trip to Birmingham, I reached the very end without stopping. There’s a lot on offer but Marshall Law have delivered the album that I, and certainly their fans and their reputation, have been waiting for. This album is heavy. It packs a punch and contains some memorable riffage. Rub some of Judas Priest’s ‘Painkiller’ against any album by Gamma Ray and you won’t be far away from the sound and feel of Razorhead. At this point it should be made clear that Marshall Law are your traditional heavy metal band. They may get thrown in with the power metal crowd but there’s something reassuringly traditional about it all. That doesn’t mean the band are chocking out some out dated form of metal, far from it, it means that for all the many sub genres of metal it’s great to hear that there are some bands who play some goddam heavy metal, and play it well.

Razorhead begins with a three-pronged attack in the shape of the hard hitting title track, the Gamma Ray-esque Premonition and the grinding Headtrap. All these songs set out the stall for the rest of the album suggesting that it’ll have pace, grooves, bite and variety. In these respects Razorhead doesn’t disappoint. Vocalist Andy Pyke proves to be a versatile performer giving a well rounded metal vocal track for this album, although he could be a little higher in the mix if I had my way. As I've already mentioned, Razorhead, is a long listen. There's a lot to digest but thankfully there are those songs that keep you coming back, Blood And Pain and Another Bullet in particular. This only helps you become accustomed to the longer, more intricate songs such as Night Terror, 'Nothing Lasts Forever and The Chamber. The latter being the highlight of the whole album.

This a great return from Marshall Law. The production is crisp and, despite its length, is short on filler. The only wall the band will come up against is whether the kids want to listen to a band that has a traditional approach to metal. Having said that, Razorhead, is everything you want from a metal album. Pace, melody and dark grooves are all present and correct, even the one minute interlude makes a couple of appearances. I’m not sure it’ll thrust them into the forefront of metal but the band should be proud of themselves and it’ll be a terrible injustice if they don’t reap some reward from this release. I’m sure the rest of Europe and Japan will love it, it may just take a little more time in this country.

Killing Songs :
Night Terror, 'Nothing Lasts Forever, The Chamber, Blood And Pain, Another Bullet, Razorhead, Premonition, Headtrap
Pete quoted 83 / 100
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