Razor of Occam – Homage to Martyrs Review

Occam’s Razor is a scientific principle that all things equal, the most simple explanation (theory) for something is likely to be the correct one. Razor of Occam is a black thrash act from London by way of Australia. And how should one account for the sheer asskickery of this mean motherfucker? Whelp, the theory that any project with two members of the behemoth Destroyer 666 (new album later this year—hell yeah!) is more than likely gonna kick copious amounts of ass, seems like a no brainer of a cause. And Occam smiled. Hot on the heels of the outstanding self titled effort from Absu comes another hulking beast of a black thrash album.

Compared to some of its peers, you could say Razor of Occam play it pretty straightforward. They don’t have the shuffling cadence and Eastern riffing of Melechesh, or the atmospherics and mysticism of Absu, although these guys are definitely playing to the same audience. But if that sounds less appealing, I can tell you they make up for it with sheer single-minded destructiveness. Folks, Homage to Martyrs descends on you like a grizzly in a phone booth; there’s no escape as this thing is all slashing claws, gnashing teeth, and crushing weight (and holy shit I write this now realizing by now that the youngest of you guys likely have never even SEEN a phone booth, you Motorola-toting minions). There’s no moody opener, no acoustic interludes or clean vocals, no atmospheric instrumental. Instead, the band’s in fifth gear as soon as you hit ‘play,’ and they hardly let up during the subsequent thirty-three minutes. Sure, “Pattern on the Stone” sometimes employs a comparatively slower pace, with a central riff hook that could be straight out of the Smith/Murray playbook, but it’s no less the punishing because of it. Opener “Altar of Corruption” is a high point and convincing tone-setter in its unrelentingly pounding percussive windstorm and malicious snarl of Matt Scheemilch(new-ish bassist for D666), whose guitar partnership with fellow Destroyer (666) Ian Gray deals out a skin-shearing attack that’s only bettered by the interspersed and surprisingly catchy melodies. This is headbangin’, fist pumpin’ straight up metal, my friends, with the breakneck thrash chops of vintage Slayer and Kreator, crossed with the virulence and malevolence of black metal.

Homage to Martyrs boasts all the fiery hunger and immediacy of a new band, and the professional design and execution of old vets.  Granted, Razor of Occam may not be ready to take over as king of this particular mountain just yet, but these guys are a sure bet for fans of the style. In fact, they may actually bring new listeners into that fold. The production here is pretty spit shined, and though it has a bit more polish than I’d prefer for the style, the huge sound, quality songs, and the Metal Blade label might make this a good entry into the genre for the as of yet uninitiated. Buy and thrash.

Posted by Matthew Cooper

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