Razorback - Animal Anger
Massacre Records
Melodic Rock/Metal
10 songs (43:00)
Release year: 2004
Razorback, Massacre Records
Reviewed by Ken

Back around 1985 my mother, believe it or not, gave me a tape entitled Pyromania by a band called Def Leppard; I was about 10 years old at the time and this was the first piece of music I’d ever paid attention to. Def Leppard instantly became my favorite band (and still are to this day, as scary as that sounds, though their last album, X, was absolutely horrible); in 1987 I bought my first album, Hysteria, the copy I still listen to is that very same copy I bought—Holy CRAP!—19 years ago. Now, if any of you have ever heard Def Leppard—and regardless of what you think of them—you surely know that the band understands the definition of “the hook.” Well, because of them I became a music fan who could never deny a good, catchy hook. Razorback, also, understands the definition of “the hook.”

With the demise of Vanize in 2002, Rolf Munkes (guitar), Pierre Fienhold (drums) and Marcus Bielenberg (bass) moved on with the intention of starting a new band, a metal band, but more melodic than Vanize. They found a singer in Stefan Berggren, a recently departed member of The Company Of Snakes. To complete the line-up they brought aboard former Shylock guitarist Chris Heun. The end result became Razorback’s debut album, Animal Anger—which I’ve owned for a while now. It’s a melodic rock/metal album with some of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard on a rock album.

The album starts with “The Hymm,” a mid-paced metal song that borders on being straight up power metal, a great album opener, but possibly a bit misleading. It is followed by “One By One,” a song that is more of the typical flavor on the rest of the album than the opener; a melodic verse followed by a killer chorus that harkens back to the rock explosion of the Eighties, but manages to not sound dated. The band channels some Last In Line-era Dio for the next track, “A New King In Town,” sounding like Ronnie James Dio vocally and accompanied by a plodding bass line, thick guitar grooves and a massive hook. Killer tune! The next song, “Kiss Of Death,” is a little lighter in sound, but still manages to captivate with another brilliant chorus. “Fire And Rain” tones everything down a bit with a more mellow approach similar to late-Eighties Whitesnake, another extremely catchy tune. Next up is “Release Me,” a frenetic up-tempo jam that starts out sounding a bit like the Dokken (George Lynch) live favorite, “Mr. Scary,” a bit light on the hook, but it’s still a decent song and the same can be said for “Lone Wolf,” which follows. Everything picks back up with “Eye Of The Storm,” it starts with a dark, lightly-plucked chord progression and has Stefan Berggren bringing it up a few octaves right before the song kicks in—goosebumps! Unfortunately, he abandons that range for the rest of the song—and album, for that matter—which is too bad because he nailed it on this one. Dio is once again channeled on the excellent and heavy, hook-laden fist-pumper, “Bastard.” The album ends on a contrasting mellow note with the short orchestral, acoustic ballad “Dead Man’s Song,” slightly out of place, but still a great song and an excellent, if not odd, ending to a killer album.

I usually don’t like to go into song-by-song detail, but this one deserves it. The album is essentially a melodic rock album with touches of metal similar to what we hear from Masterplan. The worst song on the album is a good song. They’re catchy as hell, and all quality. If you like old school 80’s rock/metal, but want something without the cheese then you should definitely seek out this album. The band recently released their sophomore album called Criminal Justice—which I will hopefully soon own. For now, though, Animal Anger has my undivided attention.

AUDIO: The Hymn, One By One and Fire And Rain

Note: In time these links will likely becoming outdated.

Killing Songs :
One By One, A New King In Town, Kiss Of Death, The Eye Of The Storm and Bastard
Ken quoted 85 / 100
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