RAZORMAZE "Slashed to Ribbons!"

By Dr. Abner Mality

It's one of the great perks of this job. Stumbling across a band you've never heard of before and being knocked off you feet! Razormaze is such a band and their latest album "Annihilatia" is such a release.

Their name alone was cool enough to draw my interest and the cover to "Annihilatia" only whetted it further. But the real revelation lay within! These dudes play thoughtful, complex thrash with melody that still rages! If you're disappointed by the latest from Megadeth, I highly recommend Razormaze as a tonic. One shot of this stuff will perk you right up and have you ready to head back into the pit with a smile on your lips and thunder in your fists!

Singer/guitarist Alex Citrone is the man who provides the voice of Razormaze and I recently hooked up with the Bostonian bad boy to discuss the band and their works. As you will see, he was as direct and to the point as a razor himself!

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Greetings from Wormwood Chronicles! First, the obvious. Razormaze is going to be a new name to many. Give us some brief background on the band and its history.

ALEX CITRONE: Razormaze began back in 2007 after we decided to move on from our joke band Aggroculture. We sang about farming. Yup, farming. It was funny but we wanted to move on to something a little more serious. That something was Razormaze.

WC: I am guessing you got your name from the “Blind Alley” episode of the old “Tales From the Crypt” movie, where blind men forced their tormentor to run through a maze studded with razors with the lights out. Am I on the mark with that? Is there any “hidden” meaning to the band’s name?

AC: That's a good guess! Really we just got the name from sitting around on the back porch of the apartment a few of us lived in at the time. We got drunk, often, and came up with stupid band names and concepts. Initially, we had the idea of a concept band that sang about various types of mazes and trials and tribulations therein. Razormaze was one of those mazes, the name stuck.

WC: . The cover to “Annihilatia” suggests a combination of H. P. Lovecraft and Illuminati imagery. Is this many tentacle beast the secret power that is strangling us all?

AC: There's definitely a Lovecraftian vibe going on there. The simple explanation is "the all seeing eye and Cthulu hybridized". You'll notice that theres cities upon the creature as well. It's essentially speaking to the fact that we all live beneath the power of a few and that power eludes us.

WC: What is the lyrical inspiration for the band? Is it topical or social stuff, fantastic fiction or personal ideas? Or all of the above?

AC: Razormaze definitely centers on political and social issues with topics ranging from the horrid family planning program in India (Something Like a War), to the privatization of our prison system (The Slowest Death).

WC: When listening to “Annihilatia”, it is very obvious you are determined to be a pure thrash band, without leaning towards death metal, black metal, metalcore, etc.  Is it tough to keep yourself focused on thrash alone…or are there other influences that secretly creep in?

AC: I don't really consider us a pure thrash band, in fact we've made it a goal to expand beyond that. There's definitely tinges of death metal, traditional heavy metal and other more extreme elements. You can see this through our use of blast beats, more growly vocals, etc.

WC: Razormaze’s music gives the impression of being very technical and precise…almost machine-like. Is it assembled in a very precise manner…or is it put together in a flash of inspiration?

AC: Razormaze is definitely a riff-centric band and we enjoy crafting riffs that are interesting, intricate, technical and still catchy. Generally we'll begin with one riff that one of us will bring to a practice and its expanded upon. We'll build entire songs around that one riff if it's strong enough.

WC: You also keep a good portion of melody in the music, along with the speed and heaviness, particularly in the vocals. Do you think a lot of the modern thrashers have forgotten this part of songwriting in a rush to “kick ass” and rip people’s heads off?

AC: I think a lot of modern thrash is incredibly derivative and bands mimic older acts to the point of ultimate boredom. There's certainly a spectrum of aggression, melody and lack there of within the genre. I think a lot of musicians hide behind extremity where they lack originality.

WC: You guys hail from Boston, which is known for hardcore more than anything else. Is there a pretty strong thrash scene there? Is there more to the Boston underground than people think?

AC:Boston has for sure spawned some great bands in the past, including some really great thrashy bands like Ramming Speed and Revocation. There's still a lot of quality acts  there but the chokehold that's been placed on the DIY scene due to a recent police crackdown is inhibiting what once made the Boston underground really great. I think that scene will regroup and come around again someday however.

WC:“Annihilatia” is being released by Ireland’s Slaney Records. How did this union come about? Were you approached by any other “known” labels? What makes Slaney appealing to you?

AC: We were approached by a few bigger entities but ultimately couldn't wait around any longer to get our release out. Slaney offered us a deal in which we had a lot of control. It was a no brainer. Working with smaller label gives us more leeway and power to control our music and do what we wanted with it.

WC: The first bloom of the “thrash revival”  has kind of faded. What’s your assessment of where the music is going?

AC: The thrash revival is over. The better, harder working bands from that "wave" have continued on, matured and honed their sound to maintain relevancy and notoriety. There was a lot of overnighters who fell in and out of thrash, started a shitty band and disappeared. The bands who did and still do it out of love rather than trend will continue on and keep the torch burning.

WC: Guitarist Joe Gettler is a relative newcomer to Razormaze. How has he changed the band’s sound?

AC: Joe came into the band after Annihilatia and redid the solos. The result is fantastic, melodic, soulful, searing leads that will melt any discerning metal heads face. He's contributed quite a bit to the new material

WC: You guys have played with a laundry list of  great bands like Death Angel, Heathen, Municipal Waste and more. Was any one band your favorite to play with? Who was the craziest?

AC: I think Destruction was probably my favorite band to play with. They always put on a fantastic show and as far as I'm concerned they're living legends who have stayed true to their roots.

WC: Are you getting a feel for how Razormaze might evolve in the future?

AC: I think as time goes on well continue to get heavier and expand our sound into different avenues.

WC:  Are you guys involved with other bands or projects? If so, what are they?

AC: Not currently!

WC:  What live plans does Razormaze have for the rest of 2013? I think a hookup with bands like Evile and Havok would be a natural?

AC: We'd like to get together a West Coast tour as its been a while since we've been out that way. We'd happily welcome a tour with either of those two bands!

WC:  If you could ask any 3 people from history to dinner, who would they be?

AC: Dio. That's it. I would just ignore any other people who showed up.

WC:  What was the last CD/release you got just because you wanted to hear the band?

AC: The new Tribulation record "Formulas of Death" was one I've been waiting on a while. It's a spectacular release.

WC: What was the last band you saw live just because you wanted to catch the show?

AC: The last band I caught live was probably Black Tusk. Those dudes always put on a great show and have the balls to their music that so many bands today lack.

WC: In the history of Razormaze, has their ever been any “Spinal Tap” moment where things went crazy wrong that you could share with us?

AC: On our first full US tour we broke down in the middle of that Mojave Desert and our radiator hose was severed by our flat tire. We were about 100 miles from civilization in either direction and had to wait nearly 2 hours for  AAA to tow us in the 115 degree heat. We were on the verge of killing each other at that point.

WC: Last statements to the faithful?

AC: Thanks for the interview man!