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Released: 2013, Dust On The Tracks/Universal
Back in July of 2010, I did a little spotlight on seven bands from my hometown of Calgary, Alberta. Since then four of the seven have been signed to an international record deal. While my ego is big enough to think it was my reviews that played a part in helping them get signed, the reality is that the dedication, hard work and quality songwriting and performance is what took these local bands to the next level. Hellrazer is the latest local success story and they have a new album out as they have just signed to the German label Dust On The Tracks with good distribution via Universal.
OPERATION OVERLORD is the third Hellrazer album and it shows considerable growth from the previous one. Everything has improved, artwork (WWII Zombies!) to the mastering job of Michael Wagener and most importantly, the individual performances have improved. Since PRISONER OF THE MIND the quartet has added Simon Hirota on bass. The true Metal is on full display and anthemic pounding Metal even borders on thrash at times with cuts like 'The Hunting'. The songs run a little longer with six of the ten songs running around the six minute mark which gives them room to add a few more solid, intros and so on.
I'd like to say the song-writing has improved but I always felt their songs were always strong and Hellrazer just needed that extra professional shine and execution of great songs. My one negative comment about OPERATION OVERLORD would be the lyrics. Normally, I am very forgiving about lyrics, originality is not important to me, but there are several phrases or lines lifted directly from some of their influences, Judas Priest and Testament, and I mean exactly the same. Sure, the few lines 'borrowed' are from albums almost 20-25 years old, and it is possible many listeners would not notice or care, but older Metal fans like me will be able to pick them out. Generally the lyrics are strong, proud and true songs about metal, battles and riding in the wind, so it is forgiveable but I know they can do better.
OPERATION OVERLORD is the bands finest album to date, the have increased the velocity, the intensity and overall aggression of the Metal. It is an excellent record and I'm not surprised they got signed on the strength of this.
2. Raging Seas
4. The Hunter
6. Operation Overlord
7. Burn in Heaven
8. The Phantom
9. Death or Victory
10. Rise of the Machines
11. Dehumanizer (2012 Version)
12. Black Legions (2012 Version)
Dr. Z Guitars, Vocals
Stan Nakashima Guitar
Simon Hirota Bass
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