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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Razor Crusade
Infinite Water
Deathwish Inc.

Rating: 7/10 ?


February 2, 2005
You're walking across the street at a busy intersection. The "Don't Walk" sign is flashing, so you think you've got time. Suddenly, it stops flashing and you're only halfway across. The light changes, and a speeding semi with a suicidal driver is bearing down on you with a maniacal smile on his face. He's going to take you with him to hell by ramming your body into the nearest concrete wall. There's no rhyme or reason for his actions; you were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. And somehow, it all seems familiar, like this has happened to you before.

It did, or at least, it would have if you had listened "This Song Is For Alex", the opening track off Razor Crusade's full-length debut, Infinite Water. Driving bulldozer guitar riffs over mounds of rubble, Razor Crusade grinds and grinds its hardcore grooves in its tracks. Then, having run for only 15 seconds, the machine stops. Only the sound of peeling feedback is heard above drum gunshots. A woman's voice comes on and says the words in the song's title, and you sort of feel like you've escaped a horrible accident.

Then, the giant piece of machinery roars to life in "Our Planet Is Intimate," and as it rolls over you, you can't help but throw your fist in the air and say, "Hell yeah." Because this is intense hardcore with guitars that wind around you and squeeze like a python. And it feels good. Damn good. They've got that repetitive, pounding, assembly line feel that made Helmet sound so mean. "In The Meantime" was the sound of a factory worker's soul being crushed. Razor Crusade finishes the job.

Or at least they do for most of Infinite Water. Opting for more of a mid-tempo rhythmic drive, "The Low Spark" is no less of a thrill. And when singer Ivo - his name probably changed to protect the innocent - screams, "Witness the birth of a new kind of art from a black sheep heart," you want to believe him. But by this time, you're beginning to suspect Razor Crusade can't keep up this pace - and you're right. "Mark You're A Hole" slowly spirals upward on heaving riffs and the call-and-response vocals have all the urgency of Fugazi's Ian McKaye and Guy Picciotto. Unfortunately, Razor Crusade's arrangements are nowhere near as dynamic.

Everything seems to go in the same direction at the same speed. Case in point: "Europeanly Adorable", with its straight-line drum patterns and bass drive. It comes off like very early Jawbox, which isn't so bad - it just lacks the twists and turns of that band's amazing later work.

"I Wish You Were Me" slows things down considerably and inexplicably veers off into emo territory, especially in the hand-wringing background vocals. "You Should Be Lucky" opts for a sped-up melody, with the kind of pogoing bass and stabbing guitar that Jimmy Eat World conquered Emoland with.

And they do this probably knowing full well what you want is more of "Osaka Android", with its visceral, layered guitar vortex and gargling-with-broken-glass screams.

Blessed - or cursed, depending on how you look at it - with the gift of ESP, Refused saw into the future on its sleek, explosive swan song, The Shape Of Punk To Come. The image of Razor Crusade in Refused's crystal ball was a little blurry. The harsh reality for every politically minded European hardcore act that follows Refused is there will be constant comparisons to that team of Swedish demolition experts. And Razor Crusade has the goods to live up to them. Infinite Water, at times, does get your pulse racing. It's exhilarating, with a kind of controlled frenzy that feels like a clinical study of mob violence. It doesn't quite have the primal roar and rhythmic quakes of a Quicksand.

Don't give up on Razor Crusade, though. Keep these noisy boys from the Netherlands on your radar. It's just a hunch, but I've got a feeling their next record will be atomic. Hopefully, Deathwish, the label that had the foresight to sign them, will let them grow.

Reviewed by Peter Lindblad
Peter Lindblad lives in Appleton, Wis., and bleeds green and gold just like all the Packer fan nutjobs in the area. He does draw the line at wearing blocks of chedder on his head, or any other body parts for that matter, though. His professional career has taken weird twists and turns that have led him to his current position as an editor at a coin magazine. He hopes his stay there will be a short one. Before that, he worked as an associate editor at a log home magazine. To anyone that will listen, he\'ll swear that Shiner was one of the greatest rock bands to ever walk the earth. Yet he also has much love for Superchunk, Spoon, DJ Shadow, Swervedriver, Wilco, Fugazi, Jawbox, ... And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Modest Mouse, among others.

See other reviews by Peter Lindblad

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