Released: 2008, DR2 Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Marshall Law, hailing from Birmingham, England, have had a long career. The band was formed back in 1987, and the band´s debut album, titled just MARSHALL LAW, was released 2 years after the band´s formation. Even if it has become quite a classic album since then, it never had that much impact on people when it was released some 20 years ago, unlike some other heavy metal albums that were released at that time.
The band has come a long way since the days of their debut album; released 3 other albums, one EP + live album and even a ´best of´ album since then. Marshall Law have still remained the property of only a certain circle of heavy metal fans, and never had any skyrocketing type of success during their respectable long career. And it´s a true pity because like K.K. Downing from Judas Priest once said about them: "...one of the most underrated bands the U.K. has to offer...". I wholeheartedly agree with that - and now when the band´s latest output, RAZORHEAD, has been unleashed - even more so...
RAZORHEAD displays dark and hostile heavy/pre-power metal, offering 15 songs in nearly 70 minutes, and despite its length, it has no filler and is a worthy package all in all - I mean, if you overall just like a bit of a darker, gloomier and thrashier edge in the heavy metal sound. The band members were writing and recording the material for this album for about 3 years, so I guess that should even tell something (no, we don´t talk about Guns´n´Roses´ CHINESE DEMOCRACY in here, so don´t even try to play smartass with me now!).
To describe Marshall Law´s latest 5th album somehow without being verbose, there´s this certain Priest flavor of the ´80s pushing through on their songs - also perhaps hints of Savatage, hints of Metal Church and hints of Testament (due to some of the guitars - check out the last track on the album, called "Necromancer") and even Forbidden ("Premonition"; the chorus part especially!) here and there - and let´s even add U.D.O.´s name to the same pile, too. In fact, there´s a little bit of this and that poured into this record. Actually many of Marshall Law´s elements may sound kinda familiar from many different occasions, but now I just wanted to throw in those few aforementioned names in order to give some sort of a clue to some of you. The songs on RAZORHEAD vary from somewhat epic and mid-paced heavy metal cuts ("Gods of Deception" and "The Chamber") to thrashy and fast type songs ("Premonition" and "Blood and Pain"), which is why the level of interest stays constantly very high. The band´s frontman Andy Pyke, also uses a wide range of voices in the songs - from harsh and mean type vocals to a very melodious and lucid vocalism, and he clearly knows how to adjust his vocals to make them fit the nature of each song on RAZORHEAD. Both Daves in the band line-up prove to be real kick-ass 6-string shredders as far as their performance is concerned, both riff- and solo-wise. All in all, RAZORHEAD is a truly enjoyable package from Marshall Law, so if even K.K. Downing sees them as a potential English metal act I´m relatively positive there´s also gonna be a host of other people out there, who can also subscribe to the potentiality of Marshall Law. RAZORHEAD is at least a damn fine effort from these Birmingham metal veterans, believe me!