Raze Pyrography Album Review
Introducing South East, UK grunge metallers ‘Raze’ who are releasing their debut record ‘Pyrography’ out on Friday 28th July with ‘One Eyed Toad Records’.
“Less is more, the biggest ego in the room should always be the song and that has been greatly missed on this debut record”
This album is jam packed with guitar hero riffs, technical ability and a switchable range of Myles Kennedy inspired vocals to a more Phil Ansanmo aggressive style. Raze give us 9 tracks on this debut offering including the singles ‘Pyrography , Better Off Alone , Blue Sky Vengeance , and Maple’.
The heart and soul that is on display on this record is clear from the beginning with frontman Louis Dunham laying all to bare and I commend any artist who has the bravery to attempt it and try to achieve songwriting on a high level with that. This being said, I have a number of frustrations with this record and this leaves a feeling of disappointment and displeasure of the entire album..
The production is something to be desired; the guitar, bass and drums are in constant conflict with each other all the way through. The mix is awful and hasn’t been treated with much care and is fatiguing by track 4. I had to give my ears a break because you’re being lambasted with guitars that are too loud and cut up within an inch of their life after brief alternate picked chugs and fizzy tone solos. The vocals sound small when in singing sections and when aggressive vocals hit, they sound like someone is standing right next to you and they come as a surprise. The bass is basically non-existent, mainly because of the terrible EQ of the guitars which encroach the bass EQ space all the way through the record, apart from a bass solo in ‘Blue-Sky Vengeance’. The drums, sound like they’re in the next room and the drummer perspective mixing is unbalanced which doesn’t aid the fact that a lot of the drum grooves are either slightly out of time or simply the wrong groove entirely with over played double kick flams and fills that just have no place being there at all. Sonically, this record is a mess and it has been rushed.
The best quote I’ve ever heard about songwriting comes from Ian Thornley and I say it all the time: “the biggest ego in the room is the song” and that should be on every wall of every musician’s room and studio in the world. This record is in stark contrast to this, where most of the time is spent trying to decipher what is actually going on in some sections of these songs. The main take-away I get from these ‘songs’ is that there is a singer trying to get across his lyrics and melodies,(which, might I add, are the strongest part of the band),but he’s fighting 4 other egomaniacs who at the same time are trying their best to let everyone know that they can play fast or show some technical proficiency. Whilst it’s abundantly clear that on their own, each member of the band is able to play with some technical ability, by the end of the second track ‘Better Off Alone’ you’re thinking “Ok, we get it you guys can play, now just play the song”. But referring back to my other paragraph before, they are clearly overplaying every section to squeeze in some fill or shred lick and there are moments when it’s just not in time and you can hear where things have been attempted to be fixed in the mix. The Opening track ‘Maple’ is 45 seconds before you hear any vocal. The riff is very early Creed/ Alter Bridge and has a riff that sounds like guitarist’s Dan Eveleigh & Jack Ilot have just discovered drop D. This isn’t helped that Ethan Morter’s drumming is playing right over and across the riff taking any hint of a possible groove away. You really can’t talk about the bass playing much because as stated before, it’s buried in a wall of unnecessary guitar tone. ‘Maple’ is almost 6 minutes long (5:50) and the radio edit is a much better listen. This is a premise for the whole record; each song just goes on and drags.
‘Roachman’ is out of time, the drums and guitars aren’t playing the same song it seems. There are moments where the song is trying to be clever and play a counterpart in the middle of a verse, which gives this song absolutely no structure and distracts from the vocal melody, and lyrics which on the second verse, it might as well be a different song at this point.
There has been zero demoing & pre-production on this process and it shows. There has been absolutely no overseeing from a producer who should have grabbed the lads by the balls and told them to spend time working on the songs, parts, structures, and tone contributions.
Raze cite influences such as Tremonti, Alter Bridge, Machine Head & Lamb of God, and you can hear elements of these influences but they’re being rammed into areas of their songs which don’t need to be there at all.
The frustrating feeling I have with this is that underneath this is a screaming potential because like I alluded to, each member clearly has a love and passion to play and achieve some technical prowess - and I will stand and applaud that - but every hurdle attempted has been missed and I honestly think if these lads were working with a producer and co-writer over a few weeks you’d get a great sounding 4/5 track E.P that would be much better than a 9 track, long-winded, bloated album.
There are bands in the UK right now who are doing this style of rock/metal and they’re doing it exceptionally well. Just go and check out ‘The Fallen State’, ‘Graces Collide’, ‘Hollowstar’, ‘Mason Hill’ & “The Blood Republic’
Raze's debut record ‘Pyrography’ is out Friday 28th July via One Eyed Toad Records. Make sure to catch Raze on their Pyrography tour across August with their album launch show July 29th at The Horn in St. Albans.
July 29th – The Horn St Albans
August 3rd – Six Six Bar Cambridge
August 4th – B2 Norwich
August 13th – The Flapper Birmingham
August 26th – The Pipeline Brighton
September 22nd Fiddlers Elbow Camden
Social Links: https://linktr.ee/razebandofficial
Tickets here: https://tourlink.to/Raze-Pyrography-Tour