HardReviews 4
by Martin Popoff

Pissing Razors - Evolution

New vocalist in Andre Acosta, and the long-suffering and relentless Pissing Razors are off and running on their fifth studio album. First thing I must say is that the production, by the band's drummer Eddy Garcia is modest, turning the band into more of an underground, hardcore-ish act versus the steely Pantera panoramas of the records previous. Oddly, it's the drums that sound compromised, while the guitars are a little muddy as well. Acosta is a versatile vocalist, spanning nu-metal/Sevendust croons through a Fear Factory bellow through pure (Swedish) death. There's even hardcore, stoner rock... even a bit of Dani on Takedown. Musically, the band's sound remains hard to categorize (Superjoint crossed with Change-era Machine Head?), given its versatility, but also vaguely similar to too many other bands - or more accurately, a blended, undistinguished part of a pack. And right at the middle of it. Weird, but any one of these songs on their own and you think killer, superstars, heroes. But put too many together, and you come away tired.
Rating 7.5

Norther - Mirror Of Madness
(Spinefarm/Century Media)

Oft considered a Children Of Bodom clone, Norther actually don't have their act together like the frosty unit-shifting Finns. The vocals of Petri Lindroos are tiring and extreme, and to far back in the mix to matter, the keyboards too atmospheric and non-bold, and the songs too relaxed and power metal-like. But the worst part is the absolutely treble-frantic production, which scratches at my ears until I gotta turn it off. I dunno, I'm finding this derivative, and kind of aimless and timid at the attempt, those wishy-washy keyboards serving as a metaphor for the lack of purpose here, and likely, the lack of excitement or feelings of discovery on the part of potential listeners, the audience for this kind of thing being very demanding and knowledgeable indeed. Love the front cover and the booklet though.
Rating 6

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