297353

$500.00

Razor - Armed and Dangerous

Format: LP
Label: Voice M-260957
Year: 1984
Origin: Guelph, Ontario
Genre: metal
Keyword: 
Value of Original Title: $500.00
Make Inquiry/purchase: email ryder@robertwilliston.com
Release Type: Albums
Websites:  No
Playlist: Top 1000 Canadian Albums of All Time, Most Valuable Canadian Music, 1980's, Ontario, Canadian Metal

Tracks

Side 1

Track Name
The End
Killer Instinct
Hot Metal
Armed And Dangerous

Side 2

Track Name
Take This Torch
Ball And Chain
Fast And Loud

Photos

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Razor - Armed and Dangerous

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Razor - Armed and Dangerous

297353

Armed and Dangerous

Videos

No Video

Information/Write-up

1984 saw the birth of Canada's finest extreme metal outfits, a band whose ideals would not permit compromise, whose conviction would lead to eight releases, and an equal number of years fighting an uphill battle. No mere bandwagoneers, this quartet were out to permanently fuse metal with insane aggression and violence, pummelling listeners with aural and mental fists. This they have undoubtedly achieved, and continue to foster to this day.

The vision began with four young men from Guelph, Ontario: Dave Carlo on guitar; Stace "Sheepdog" McLaren on vocals; Mike Campagnolo on bass; and Mike "M-Bro" Embro on drums. All of them fans of the then-new resurgence of heavy metal, they became hungry to inject the genre with a bleaker view of the world and its inhabitants: in essence, a cold, calculated assault in both melody and lyrical imagery. Their first outpouring of energy manifested itself as "Armed and Dangerous", a self-financed seven-song EP that would garner them underground acclaim via the 1200 copies pressed, and countless tape trading. This was all that was needed to secure a recording contract with Canada's Attic Records, with whom Razor would record their next three albums.

The first of the three Attic records, "Executioner's Song", came out shortly after signing, the material having mostly been written during the "Armed and Dangerous" period. It proved successful with fans of raw, aggressive music. These fans wouldn't have to wait long before the band released the first in a series of evolutionary steps it would make. "Evil Invaders" (1985) barraged the listener with a more controlled, more focused attack, of particular mention Stace McLaren's soaring vocal delivery and Dave Carlo's increasingly engaging hooks and razor-sharp riffs. The band toured heavily at this time with the likes of Slayer, Motorhead, and Venom, both in Canada and the United States, the only countries to have seen Razor to this day, despite the more favourable European and Japanese markets. A music video was produced for the album's title track, possibly the first speed metal video ever recorded. Its airplay on MTV (USA) and MuchMusic (Canada), along with support from college radio, resulted in greater exposure and name recognition. A year later, "Malicious Intent" appeared on music store shelves with the intent of maintaining the momentum achieved by "Evil Invaders". While the songs were strong, the record suffered slightly from problems internal to the band that were starting to well up. This, and a lack of a domestic release in the United States on Attic's part led the band to request termination of the contract agreement, which Attic tendered graciously.

Razor would now be free to explore new directions, and that they did with "Custom Killing", a self-financed recording which included the most experimental material they'd written. In contrast to the short bursts of intensity for which they were best known, "Custom Killing" featured several long, drawn out epics, complex in nature, yet not entirely memorable. Ironically, despite its poor commercial success, it was the band's most profitable record yet due to their independent stature. Razor was seemingly losing the initial vision which it so proudly espoused and practiced both in actions and words. Dave Carlo came to the realization that it was time once again to refocus and move on to the next level. His approach involved a sound so intense and ferocious, a galloping frenzy of speed so over-the-top, that it split the band into two camps, leaving Carlo and McLaren to persevere.

Carlo willingly undertook the brunt of the songwriting responsibilities as a new Razor emerged, leaner, hungrier, featuring unparalleled speed and unstoppable energy, coalescing into "Violent Restitution", an album which would prove far more popular than their previous. While Adam Carlo (Dave's brother) took over bass duties, it was Rob Mills' drum work that further helped shape the band's new direction. Mills' distinctive style and impeccable timing added a powerful element of clockwork accuracy in the sound as a whole, meshing perfectly with, and perhaps even inspiring, Carlo's dizzying display of chainsaw riffing. McLaren's vocals far surpassed his previous work, his spectacular Phoenix-like shriek leading off the album in a sign of rebirth for the renewed outfit. It would also be McLaren's last album.

A few hundred kilometers south of Guelph, in the town of London, Ontario, another group of musicians united to form Samhain. Seeing as Glenn Danzig had already appropriated the name for his post-Misfits crew, the London boys briefly contemplated renaming to SamFuckingHain, but settled on SFH for obvious reasons. Having given up a potentially successful career in hockey for the love of music, Bob Reid led SFH as a songwriter, performing lead duties on both guitar and vocals. They had become well-known and well-liked in the region through the release of their "Cold Death" demo in 1987, and were occasionally known to play shows with Razor. Meanwhile, McLaren's waning interest in Razor was taking its toll, and Carlo took matters into his own hands, letting McLaren go, and convincing Bob Reid to put SFH on hiatus in order to assume vocal duties for Razor. The evolution continued.

Tweaking the "Violent Restitution" framework to better suit Reid's delivery, "Shotgun Justice" blasted away at top speed, spewing track after track of hatred, frustration, and anger, mostly directed against the watered down music of previously heavy bands. While not vastly different than its predecessor, it began to show signs of what was to come, introducing more complex chord structure and progressions, in contrast with the increased complexity of arrangements on "Custom Killing". The band's second video was produced for the song "Shotgun Justice", but was almost immediately banned for its negative portrayal of violence, a blatant industry double standard, but nevertheless a stumbling block given the money that had been invested in the video in hopes of furthering interest in the lucrative North American market. Appropriately, "American Luck" was the subject of the third video, which was hastily put together on a limited budget in an attempt to salvage whatever commercial attention they could through conventional channels; it was later retracted by the band itself, citing poor quality. The touring continued, mostly headlining smaller shows, playing with other renowned Canadian talent such as Sacrifice and Disciples of Power.

Tragedy would strike next by way of an accident leaving Rob Mills incapable of recording the next opus. Dave Carlo, undeterred, proceeded to complete his creation by mimicking Mills' style using drum synthesizers. By this time, several years of experience had evoked in Carlo a growing sense of harmony which was inevitably filtering its way into the new material. "Open Hostility" became the new pinnacle of speed metal, a group of short, concise sonic explosions, better suited to Reid's vocal approach, and introducing a song entirely written and composed by Reid himself, "Cheers", later appearing on a subsequent SFH album. Seven years after conception, Razor had become immeasurably more intense, slinging a never-ending stream of precision rhythms rife with atonal harmony. North America would all but ignore the effort, preferring to concentrate on the growing grunge movement, turning their backs almost entirely on metal in general. A tour ensued nonetheless, playing for core groups of fans, leading up to the last gig on October 2, 1992. Razor had run its course. Or so it seemed.

After three years' hiatus, Bob Reid resumed his position in SFH along with Jon Armstrong on bass and Rich Oosterbosch on drums. They would record two full-length albums, "One of Those Days" (1992) and "All You Can Eat" (1994), with modest success. Dave Carlo, on the other hand, badly needed relief from eight years of constant hard work and large doses of grief, removing himself entirely from music for a year, yet coming back to the guitar in time, albeit strictly for personal pleasure and satisfaction. As a musician, he still felt the need to create music, but believed that he'd done all he could within the context of Razor. A career retrospective was eventually released in the form of "Exhumed", a double-CD compilation spanning every studio album, providing fans with a taste of the older, more obscure material, while offering a good earful of the more contemporary songs. Carlo expressed himself openly on the state of heavy music in the liner notes, then finally alluded to the possibility of more music in the future, although not necessarily as Razor. Time went on, 1996 rolled around, and Bob Reid started bringing up the subject of resurrecting Razor. After much cajoling, Carlo ended up dropping finished music in Reid's lap for him to write lyrics, a task that Carlo himself had been doing almost exclusively in the past. The result of the two-man combined effort: "Decibels".

Meanwhile, Tom Treumuth (Hypnotic Records), better known for his work with such Canadian acts as Helix and Honeymoon Suite, had come to hear of Razor's current situation through Lips, of Anvil fame. The new material left Treumuth astounded, surpassing all his expectations, heightening his sense of excitement at the possible release of such damn fine heavy work. A continuation of the direction adopted on "Open Hostility", "Decibels" expands on the dense harmonies and finely interwoven minimalist melodies, creating a fuller sound still, while somewhat reducing the emphasis on speed, yet keeping the energy level consistently high, and inimitably Razor. Hypnotic Records were quick to sign them, anxious to make "Decibels" known to all and to garner them the widespread recognition and support they've long deserved. Now consisting of Dave Carlo and the members of SFH (Bob Reid resuming vocal duties, Jon Armstrong on bass, and Rich Oosterbosch on drums), today's Razor remains equally dedicated to the band's original artistic vision and hopes to dish some of it out as they tour in support of their finest recording to date.
-M. Gaudrault, May 1997.

Limited edition mini LP of 1200 copies included insert lyric sheet. Dead wax has M 260957 A etched on Side 1 and M 260957 B etched on Side 2.

Stace "Sheepdog" McLaren: vocals
Dave Carlo: guitars
Mike Campagnolo: bass
Mike "M-Bro" Embro: drums

1. The End

City lights are dimming
Kings and Queens alive
Flames of red are burning
As they diminish time
Eyes of greed are rising
The aides of good will send
Conflict of extremity
A cry, it's the end
Crawling from a shaken mind
The prophets as us why
The jaws of the sharpest realm
Leave us all to die
The population's gathered
Persuaded to defend
The weakness is intelligence
The strength is in - The End

2. Killer Instinct

Debutante of murder
In the first degree
Master of the slaughter
He's hungry, can't you see
Survives by natural instinct
Prowler of the night
Prone to dangerous contact
Ready for a fight
He's got that killer instinct
Got that killer instinct
That comes right from the heart
Yeah it's the killer instinct
That tears your mind apart
Seeks the weak and vile
He aids society
You can see there's no denial
He searches to be free
No rest for the wicked
His work is never done
Where you are, he'll seek you
So don't try to run
Fights evil with his evil
Stops violence with his own
But it's always the law
Who casts the first stone
They all don't understand him
Vigilante of the streets
And as they all surround him
He dies before their feet

3. Hot Metal

Metallic mayhem on the loose
Molten rock provides the juice
Rampant start, you just can't hold
Burning heat lost all control
Everywhere you just can't hide
Spreading out it's nationwide
Metal lets you live today
Bands like us, we lead the way
Hot metal, turning you around
Hot metal, burning you down
Hot metal, gets in your brain
I'm feeling pain, from hot metal
Maximum volume soon abtained
Rivet heads now unchained
Studs and leather overflow
Aim to please at the show
Infesting cities one by one
Clenching fists, damage done
Always keeping up the pace
Love to see your violent face

4. Armed And Dangerous

Take to the air, take to the seas
There's no one left to answer your pleas
We're going to start a new revolution
And heavy metal is our constitution
We're overcharged with rock 'n' roll
A time bomb waiting to explode
Like a loaded gun ready to blow
You can't hide there's nowhere to go
Armed and dangerous
With the music that we play
Our guitars have the power
To blow you all away
We don't need any weapons
Just the ones that we supply
We're armed and dangerous
And that you can't deny
We're on your side, fighting for your rights
All the losers will be in your sights
If they don't like your leather or the noise
They better look out or they'll face the boys
We're heading your way like a fireball
Rockin' as hard as a solid wall
A big shock wave reaching out for you
If you like it, you can headbang too

5. Take This Torch

Searching in the darkness, searching for the light
Looking to the darkness, putting up a fight
Iron chains surround you, you try to make a run
Someone near has found you, and now you see the sun
Bright lights, now you can see where you are
Far, out in the universe
Now, you, try to escape from this spot
Hot, ready or not
Take this torch
Feel the white hot metal, feel it burn your skin
Experience the torture, pay for all your sins
Taken to the stairwell, taken to a cell
Scorches all your body, taste the wrath of hell

6. Ball And Chain

She's on fire with her nasty reputation
I stood back just to view the situtation
She set the trap and I fell right in
Now I'm living in her world of sin
Every night we find a different way
We live by night and sleep all day
Lives so fast only tries to please
One word from her and I'm on my knees
Ball and chain, ball and chain
Without her love, I go insane
Ball and chain, ball and chain
Imaginations's got me drained
She's dragging me down in her world of disgust
Hours of pleasure, dominated by lust
Try to escape but I gave her my pledge
If there's much more of this I'll go over the edge
Got to explain there's no holding back
It's just no use while she's on the attack
I try to tell her that this life's too rough
She jsut shows me that I can't get enough

7. Fast And Loud

Metal fury, metal sound
We'll rock this place right to the ground
Pounding drums, pounding bass
The look of anger in your face
Lights and action hit the floor
Speed and power, give me more
Molten mayhem, tempered steel
Love to hear the guitar squeal
Fast and loud
Loud and proud
Gotta rock hard
To please the crowd
Fast and loud
Power trip
Now's the time
To let it rip!
Spikes and leather fill the hall
Really want to please you all
Armoured fists, i see them shake
How much can our bodies take?
Sound of metal in the air
Time for you to get your share
Metal fans fill our dreams
Love to hear your metal screams!

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