|Razorback Deadringer||AOR Heaven|
Much better! Razorback features guitarist Rolf Munkes (Empire, Tony Martin Band) and vocalist Stefan Berggren (Snakes In Paradise, Company of Snakes) and the Tommy Denander of the drum world Mike Terrana (Masterplan, Axel Rudi Pell) on drums. Bass duties are handled by Chris Helm (ex-Lanzer, ex-Shylock).|
The band's debut was a classic slice of melodic European hard rock and saw vocalist Berggren take his powerful but more melodic/AOR vocals to a new tougher level. I really enjoyed the album which made it all that much harder to swallow what the band delivered as their follow-up. The second album Criminal Justice saw the band change direction to a more modern and contemporary feel, along the way forgetting what made the debut so memorable - dropping much of the melody and important chorus hooks.
I almost didn't expect a third release – I figured that the last album might have killed these guys off completely, but thankfully not.
They survive and have learnt from the past, starting work here towards delivering an album more reminiscent of the debut.
Mission (almost) accomplished. The old sound is back and Stefan is again singing to the best of his melodic ability. Rolf turns in a solid guitar shredding performance, with some memorable riffs and flashy solos.
This still isn't an instant album and perhaps the one area that still needs work is delivering a series of knockout choruses.
There are vocal melodies and hook lines throughout the album, but the band fails to capitalize on the best ones, seemingly keeping a tight rein on the hooks when they should be driving them home.
The album opens with a dreadful spoken word passage that I simply can't stand. But from the opening strains of Deadringer memories of the debut flood back. Last Man Standing is even better, although the chorus is a perfect example of how I think hooks could have been magnified even further.
Take Me To The Other Side is good, but misses a better chorus, as does Hero, but Line Of Fire makes up for that with another throw back to the debut. But this is where things fall away a bit further. Burden and Miracle Baby are both strong through the verse, with the former rocking a little harder, but again, bigger more defined choruses would have really sold these songs. Rock N Roll Life In Hellsink is much the same as is the bluesier hard rocker Razor Blues.
The soulful ballad Let Me Give My Lovin' is the bright spot among the tracks of the second half of the album.
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