Marshall Law

MARSHALL LAW was an unlucky band. Hailing from England (the Press had long gone turned […]
By Grigoris Chronis
October 7, 2008
Marshall Law - Razorhead album cover

MARSHALL LAW was an unlucky band. Hailing from England (the Press had long gone turned its lame back to metalheads) and releasing albums just when Metal music started being out of fashion (the 90s), few devoted fans carried along to the band's notable discography with albums like Marshall Law (1989), Power Game (1992), Law In The Raw (1996), Metal Detector (1996) and Warning From History (1999).
I can recall the supremacy of the very first track I listened to from this band - 1989's Under The Hammer, what a tune - and was glad to see they're still around, by just releasing Razorhead (via DR2 Records - is this an 'alter ego' for Demolition Records?), an album planned to come out since 2007. The cover artwork prepared me for something into the 'current' Metal sound; OK, as long as it's not too 'current' and - most of all - hoping it'll be 'Metal'. The lineup of the band features two original members, Andy Pyke (VIVA & a member of NWOBHM heroes DETROIT, too) and Dave Martin, so a change in the band's direction - bearing in mind it's year 2008 - would not be out of question. Thus, the first couples of audition did not fill my need for pleasure, since Razorhead sounded as aggressive as many up-to-date Metal bands, while the mood was dark enough to call this a bombastic album. Neat production, OK, obvious volume, an applicable mix, but something was not enough. Decided to give it more spins to clear up messy thoughts.
Remembering US axeman Jack Frost - SEVEN WITCHES, SAVATAGE, METALIUM, THE BRONX CASKET CO. - briefly joined (or was to join?), I tried to imagine if he would fit the case in Razorhead. His sharp riffs, his 'attack' picking and his in-your-face attitude/amplitude bears similarities, to tell the truth.
To the album: 'contemporary Heavy Metal' would be a brief summary. Low-frequency instrumentation, dark production, pounding drumming (enough of groovy parts, also), venomous bass lines, a variety in vocals (theatrical, petite-distorted at times, futuristic here and there, dual leads also visible). If no one tells you the band breathes 20 years of life you wouldn't suppose so, I guess. The album is powerful, fresh and hostile. It definitely is a 'Metal' album (do not even think of any 'Nu' or 'New' stuff over 'ere) and will not leave less-than-30 followers unsatisfied. Crazy solos, lucid songwriting and not much reference to the basics.
Of course, old-school metalheads will not be pleased that much by the sound/style approach (it's kinda industrial, at times), but let's not forget MARSHALL LAW was born at the end of the glorious 80s. Hence, all I'd ask - personally - for is some melody in tracks (like in Nothing Lasts Forever, for example), since it seems the whole album's spirit tastes revenge and outburst fury. In regards to the band's previous discography, I'd evaluate Razorhead as a reasonable sequence, bearing in mind what the climax in the band's worx was till now.
The album is nearly 70 minutes long, with no song treated as a filler. MARSHALL LAW surely tried hard in writing/recording for Razorhead (don't know if the title itself unveils some reference) and waited long enough to release this CD. If you like JUDAS PRIEST's post-80s deeds, the furious Metal scene of Central Europe (e.g. BRAINSTORM comes to mind in no particular reason, plus some 'gloomy' U.D.O., a little of 'late' ANGELDUST or down-on-earth MORGANA LEFAY etc) and latest 'just Heavy' albums you'll dig this one. Not my cup of tea that much, but definitely a conscious CD.
P.S.: Long running ML member Andy Southwell left the band two years ago.

7 / 10


"Razorhead" Track-listing:

The Summoning
Gods Of Deception
Night Terror
The Chamber
Divides Us
Nothing Lasts Forever
Devil's Anvil
Blood And Pain
Another Bullet
Hell On Earth

Marshall Law Lineup:

Andy Pyke - Vocals
Dave Martin - Guitar
Dave Rothan - Guitar
Tom Dwyer - Bass
Steve Hauxwell - Drums

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