I must admit that up until Gegen Die Masse from 2011, I didn’t think all that highly of Razorblade. They had their share of good songs, but on the whole that elusive something was missing from their music, seemingly condemning them to an eternity in the limbo of mediocre Oi!/Street Punk bands; I can’t really put my finger on it, but they were missing that final piece of the puzzle to complete their sound. The all-German Gegen Die Masse was a welcome upward turn of fortunes at least in my book, but due to the one-off nature of the album, e.g. an all-German album with a sound somewhat influenced by German Oi!/Street Punk, I felt there was a big chance it would only be a temporary spike.
Luckily, I was dead wrong. The next year, the Dutch band returned with Days Of Glory, which instantly became my favourite album of theirs. It saw the band explore a slightly more melodic sound, and with a more prominent Hardcore edge than before, without sacrificing any of the tough-as-fuck, hard-as-nails sound and feel, especially accentuated by vocalist Wouter’s gruff and almost guttural vocals. It seemed that, finally, the band had found their thing.
I’m happy to say My Name Is Vengeance continues the victorious stride. Perhaps it sees the band abandon some of the more overt melodic approach of its predecessor, but essentially the blueprint feels pretty much the same: hard and aggressive brickwall Oi! mixed with aggressive, heavy but not particularly metallic Hardcore, topped off with just enough melody and catchiness to keep the listener alert. Perhaps they’ve taken a step back and brought back more elements and, above all, feel from their earlier albums than were present on the previous two, but they’ve managed to combine these with what made especially Days Of Glory so powerful. I’m going to be as bold as to claim that Razorblade have never had as sharp and powerful riffs as here, which work to perfectly back up Wouter’s gruff-as-ever guttural and snarling vocal onslaught. If one can speak of a Dutch Oi! sound, Razorblade do have some of that; Daily Grind has faint echoes of Discipline, the occasional metallic moments bear a distant kinship to Discharger, and so on, but for the main part, Razorblade have taken the concept of Oi!/Street Punk, at times accused of being quite narrow – perhaps not entirely falsely so, and forged a sound that is pretty much instantly recognizable as Razorblade. And when this sound has matured into tight playing and good songs, all the better.
My Name Is Vengeance isn’t a long album, clocking in just shy of 21 minutes, but for virtually the entirety of its duration, it delivers a solid beating. Admittedly, there’s the occasional backward glance to the “old” Razorblade (“old” as in a bit clunky, lacking the [melodic] momentum which gives newer Razorblade a powerful drive), which holds less appeal to me, such as the chorus of Under Siege, which hampers the album a bit, but an overwhelming majority of the runtime of the album is good shit; like most of the songs, short enough to keep things concise and avoid needless repetition.
This album comes warmly recommended by yours truly.