"Hanging on by a Thread" (Self-released; 2022)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Man, I don't know what to think about Hellrazor's "Hanging on by a Thread."

First of all, it's been seventeen fucking years since I last listened to the band (see my review of "Feel the Sting" below). And I have absolutely no memory of that recording with which to compare the new album.

Secondly, the band's name and title seem to indicate some kind of demonic heavy metal sound. We're not talking Slayer here, but I was thinking Ozzy or Motley Crue or something. And, apparently, I found elements of those bands in Hellrazor's 2006 recording. Not this time, however.

"Hanging by a Thread" seems to be another beast (and, again, I'm speaking without recollection of "Feel the Sting.") I mean, the guitar is crisp and clear and often incandescent. The songs are crystal, the band tight, The production couldn't be more pure. The lyrics are smart and courageous.

The vocals freak me out a little. Not because the vocalist is bad, but because the vocals are super smooth. Almost like something you'd expect from a Steely Dan album. And sometimes they pitch up to a soprano that can be a little startling.

The weird thing is that they actually work within the band's sound. It takes a little getting used to, but you eventually do. And you see how the juxtaposition ebbs and flows. It reminds me or Rush (and I'm about to get sacrilegious here). When I first heard Rush, I couldn't stand Geddy Lee's voice. It grated on my nerves. Eventually, however, I grew to see how they were the perfect vocals for Rush's music. The same thing happens here, with Hellrazor.

The bottom line here is that if you're looking for hard rock that's a little different, Hellrazor sure as shit are it. This is some seriously unique music ... and, in fact, it may not be for you. But it very well just might!

For more information, check out http://www.hellrazorband.com

"Feel the Sting" (Self-released; 2006)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Hellrazor's "Feel the Sting" is a welcome journey back to the day when metal bands like W.A.S.P., Motley Crue and Judas Priest were all the rage on the radio and in concert halls. This nine track CD has all the earmarks of what made those bands great: Singable choruses, driving rhythms, melodic guitars and lots of fiery lead guitar.

Anybody who's a fan of the above-listed bands or any other bands of their ilk will find something to like here. From the Blackie Lawless eeriness of "All of Your Love" to the Crue attitude of "Bad Blood" to the irresistible, Warrant-like chorus of "Who Needs You" and the Warrant-like cheesiness of "Guilty As Charged," "Feel the Sting" is a great record for those who don't think they make great hard music like they used to. Fortunately, this is no nostalgia piece either. Hellrazor's "Feel the Sting" may hearken back to the days of hair metal but it never feels stale at all.

The production here is impressive for a self-released CD although it could use a little additional depth. Overall, however, Hellrazor's "Feel the Sting" is a kick ass CD throughout. Fans of 80s metal will not go wrong here.

Hellrazor: Danny E. Reid - lead vocalist, piano, tambourine, background vocals; T.C. Davidson - all electric guitars, acoustic guitars, background vocals; Kasey Haze - bass guitar, background vocals; Darrin Evil: drums, percussion, background vocals.

For more information, check out http://www.hellrazorband.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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