Razor - Custom Killing - July, 1987
In my review for Razor's previous album, Malicious Intent, I complained that Razor were not advancing their sound. With 1987's Custom Killing they at least take a stab at it with some much, much longer songs. Both "Survival of the Fittest" and "Last Rites" clock in at just over 11 minutes, which is pretty epic by most bands' standards and given their past output, Razor isn't a band who I would expect this kind of thing from. Indeed, the results are less than spectacular on those two tracks. There are some totally bad-ass passages but they don't really seem to know what to do with them, as the songs meander from section to section without a whole lot of direction.
The shorter songs however, are much more promising. "Shootout", "Snake Eyes" and "White Noise" are among the best Razor had recorded up to this point, chock-full of vicious speed/thrash riffs, illustrating yet again why Dave Carlo is one of the most underrated guitarists of his time. The other songs are nearly as good, making the overall listening experience a pleasurable one.
The production on Custom Killing is a little brighter than on Razor's previous album, but the same drum sound returns, with an equally loud bass, making it hard to pick out some of the nuances in Carlo's riffing. Thankfully though, this is blazing thrash metal so not a lot of nuances exist. All in all, this is a nice set-up for what Razor would do next, with those aforementioned bright spots foreshadowing some of their best work.
Standouts: Shootout, Snake Eyes, White Noise