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[REVIEW] RAZOR - the CORE

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RAZOR | the CORE

 

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Tracklist:

 

1. the CORE
2. ROAD
3. 消えない痛み
4. イノセンス                                 
5. Labyrinth
6. 君は今も鮮やかに
7. 『その後の世界』

 

A release that it's okay on its own, but with glimpses of brilliance, if they manage to identify them. :3.5:

 

To properly explain the sentence above, We'll need to dwelve into their past releases for a bit. It's safe to say that RED INVISIBLE was the most well received release so far. It introduced and showcased all their range in a single release, with a bit of everything and by all accounts, a successful effort, even with its flaws. The following singles had their strenghts here and there, but faced a more lukewarm reception, most citing the lack of direction, uninspired b-sides and an over-reliance on born-like choruses/structures that may not fit with the overall range of the band. That brings us to the CORE. To get it out of the way, it is pretty obviously composed of tracks they do not believe have the power to be singles, and that's a (somewhat) fair assessment. The fact that it didn't have a PV (EDIT: Actually they did, but the fact that they choose the most bland track on the release works on favor of the idea here), and they chose to give 君は今も鮮やかに a lyric video further proves my point, it's playing safe 101. So, if you are not confident on the power of the material you have, the decision of making the CORE a compilation of trials, errors and experiments is a wise one. It lets you check the waters, understand the reception an maybe score one hit or two.

 

ROAD and その後の世界 are tracks that dig deep into the members origins. You can hear Sadie, born and MBHI influences all over those pieces. Both are a solid tracks, but not mindblowing, by any means. There's nothing wrong in playing safe and delivering something satisfying everytime, but we expect RAZOR to be a monster on its own, not a 2.0 version of those mentioned above. And I believe they've found their way with イノセンス, the best of the album. This track perfects a formula that enables it to be powerful without resorting to MBHI djent-y riffs, to have a very consistent vocal work without using born leftover choruses. Top it off with a mix of electronic effects and dnb drums that keeps the momentum going and never feels overdone and you have a winner on your hands. This is RAZOR transforming their influences into something fresh, perfecting their unique formula, and of course, their identity as a band. 君は今も鮮やかに is a mediocre ballad that does not bring anything new to their catalogue (worse than the 6/10 MISSING PIECE let's be honest) and 消えない痛み is such a forgettable one that if it wasn't labeled as RAZOR I'd have trouble identifying who it was from. (I'll ignore Labyrinth, the overused vk tropes are too strong on this one).

 

Overall, it's a release that provides more filler tracks to a band that may have the most high-ceiling potential of the 2016 newcomers, but have yet to find their stride. However, イノセンス makes me feel pretty confident that RAZOR can be fresh without throwing away all the experience and influences of past works, maybe reshaping them into something truly unique.

 

 

 

 

Edited by chemicalpictures

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The only point I have to agree with you is that イノセンス is a great song.

 

From all the songs dropped on this new mini, Labyrinth is the one to have more similarity to what BORN was doing on their last releases.

I love the mini on it's full as like their past singles and first mini. I would only say that I don't like the DNA song, besides that I'm okay with what they have doing so far.

 

I understand when you say they have been following BORN influence on some songs, but this is somehow expected since Ryoga is the vocal from both, Kouryu and Tetsuya are good friends with him and used to enjoy BORN's music. Won't be able to post it here, but both mentioned it on twitter when they were on MBHI and earlier.

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Yeah, it's really good, lovely mini album.

However it's sad that the vocalist has such standard visual kei sounded voice, he doesn't have a lovely unique voice. But beside that, melody and vibe it's really amazing. Hope they keep on going to create such greatness. BORN was also a great band ^^

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One of the things I really enjoy about RAZOR is their ability to combine hard-hitting djent-inspired riffs with catchy melodies and electronic elements. Despite the occasional chaotic composition on RAZOR's work the members' individual talent and catchy vocals gets their songs stuck in my head. In contrast to @BrenGun's comment, I would say that Ryoga actually has a pretty recognizable voice in the VK scene - especially when it comes to his range of growls and shouts that find themselves halfway between clean vocals and full-on screaming.

 

As for this mini, I wasn't as taken with ROAD as others seem to be, and the ballad was too long to earn many listens from me, but I really enjoyed all of the other tracks. 消えない痛み is a solid RAZOR track, and I can see why it earned a PV - despite sticking fairly closely to standard territory a la DNA or LIQUID VAIN, the chorus is memorable and gets stuck in your head, and it's a decent showcase for the sound RAZOR are becoming known for. イノセンス is definitely a standout with that oppressive atmosphere in the chorus, and quite experimental for what the band has put out so far. Labyrinth also has that catchy chorus that immediately hooked me (perhaps because it reminds me of one of the songs Ryoga performed with the all-star PSC session band WK on their live-dist release). Finally, I think その後の世界 would be great live and could fit in well at either the beginning or the end of the set.

 

All in all, I think the CORE is a really solid release and showcases more diversity than their first mini, which served instead to define their sound. It'll be difficult to top RED INVISIBLE for the sheer surprise factor and consistency (it blew my expectations for this lineup out of the water) but it's great to see RAZOR expanding their sound and retaining the quality in both composition and production that they led with from the start.

Edited by Shmilly

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27 minutes ago, Shmilly said:

In contrast to @BrenGun's comment, I would say that Ryoga actually has a pretty recognizable voice in the VK scene - especially when it comes to his range of growls and shouts that find themselves halfway between clean vocals and full-on screaming.

 

That's true, he is good at it, still he has not an unique voice, it's the sound how many other VK scene vocalist sounds,  but he knows how to use it. So to listen to him it's good for the ears, however it bores me still after a while.  (aka, I would not listen to this band for a half or full day only) 
But it's surely not bad! (^_^) If I would play bands randomly I would definitely put some songs of RAZOR in my playlist. 

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RAZOR was a good surprise for me, I'd never really got into BORN but I feel like after RAZOR I should at least give them a spin.

As for the mini, the first times I listened to it I wasn't very excited, but now listening to all of it, it really makes for a high energy, reasonable work. I don't really care for ballads most of the time and 君は今も鮮やかに was no exception. I gotta say the title track from this mini is the less memorable of all they've released. I gotta agree with everyone and say that イノセンス is the best track. 

Really want a full album from these guys. 

 

Edited by maryeon

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I actually really dig this release from them, probably one of my favourite things they've put out. Just feel that there's a lot of variation and good balance between melodious moments and just straight up heavy and crazy with the odd addition of some electronics or whatever to accompany it. This has had a lot of listens from me since purchasing so feel it's pretty strong, especially for a mini-album. Compared to Knot Invisible which in my opinion only had one really strong track and the rest were all give or take really, still enjoyable, but feel the Core was much stronger. 7/10.

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