Razor Of Occam

author EW date 30/06/09

When it comes to blackened thrash (or thrashing black!) metal, few come close to Deströyer 666. And so when Razor of Occam, a project featuring two members of this horde, released their debut album recently, “Homage to Martyrs”, I jumped at the opportunity to email interview them a few questions I wanted answering. To accompany the interview below you can check out my review of said album here.

RF.net: Hello there, thanks for the interview, please introduce yourself and the rest of the band. How’s life in Razor camp now the debut album has finally seen the light of day?
RoO: G’day. Matt here, guitar, vox. We have Ian (aka Shrapnel) on leads, Alex on bass and Didier, our new drummer who has joined the band since the album was recorded. Unfortunately Pete was getting homesick and has returned to Australia to be with his family. So we are finding our feet again, working hard on getting the live set in shape.

RF.net: It’s taken a decade since the band’s formation for “Homage to Martyrs” to see release. Why’s it taken so long?!
RoO: There have been a few disruptions. I moved to Europe soon after the first demo was recorded and spent a few years drifting from country to country so it took a while for things to settle down and a solid line up to crystallise. But we were never in any hurry. I think perhaps more bands could benefit from taking their time and allowing their music to mature instead of rushing out a pile of albums.

RF.net: What are your views on the album yourself/ves now it’s had a little time to sink in?
RoO: We are satisfied with the result. There is no doubt that Necro did a great job with the sound. There a few small things that could have perhaps been done better but nothing major.

RF.net: The connections to the masters of black/thrash Deströyer 666 are clear for all to see. How do you view the relationship between the two bands? Are they to be seen as two completely separate entities or does RoO bolster the name and presence of D666 through it’s own existence?
RoO: Razor was started long before I joined Destroyer, which was about the time that Ian joined Razor. So my main focus has always been Razor. I like to think they are complementary, Destroyer provides more of the easily accessible catchy stuff and Razor more of the extreme thrash attack. Lyrically the approach is quite different as well.

RF.net: With “Phoenix Rising” being an absolute Extreme Metal favourite of mine I’ve been keenly looking forward to any release connected to the Deströyer, so to get this and “Defiance” [the upcoming D666 album] in short succession is a bonus. I was however surprised at the stylistic similarity of “Homage to Martyrs” to that of the other band. How do you view such similarities yourself?
RoO: The similarities between the bands are superficial. D666 uses a lot of slower melancholic passages whereas Razor is a constant high-energy thrash barrage. I can tell you it is much more technically demanding. These differences will be readily apparent when the respective new albums are compared. I think they are in fact quite complementary.

RF.net: How do you foresee Razor’s existence panning out what with D666 finally becoming active again? Will there be much touring in support of “Homage to Martyrs”? Any shows with D666 perhaps?
RoO: We have a lot of Destroyer shows on at the minute. Hopefully we will tour later in the year with Razor of Occam. Destroyer and Razor shows would be problematic, it would be hard to give it everything twice in the same night but I won’t rule out the possibility entirely.

RF.net: Impressively for a band of your extremity and with yet a full-length album out the German major label Metal Blade snapped you up. Were you surprised to have such a powerhouse in the metal world pining for your signatures at this stage? How did this come about?
RoO: We were very surprised. We tried to secure some funding before we went to the studio on the back of a home recorded demo, but that didn’t work so we had to pay the studio costs ourselves. With the finished product in hand we tried again, using a bloke with some industry connections to act as go between. The superior production seemed to do the trick and here we are.

RF.net: I’ve read in interviews elsewhere the band’s disdain for organised religion and its influence in the modern world. Now this might be as common as long hair in our underground metal world but with Razor it seems more thought-through, and dare I say, ‘academic’ in your arguments and structure. What’s bred this disdain and for whom in the band do we hold accountable when the local priest comes knocking asking what that infernal racket is?
RoO: I guess a big influence during the band’s formation was Carl Sagan, in particular his book "The Demon Haunted World". Since then a new brigade of intellectuals have stepped into the breach, foremost in the public eye being Dawkins and co. The attack on the World Trade Centre highlighted the problem, as did the presidency of the tyrant Bush. On this side of the pond we suffered similar attacks in 2005 and similarly incompetent leadership under Blair. It is hard to escape the impression that reason is under attack- under the guise of creationism in the US and state funded religious indoctrination in so called faith schools here. Promising research is constantly stymied on the basis of irrational religious beliefs. The scientific method has made incredible advances in the last hundred years, yet it seems to have had little impact on the general public. Just about every newspaper in the world still runs a daily horoscope page, yet an article on astronomy remains a rare treat. It seems to me perilous in the extreme for medieval superstition to coexist with the power of modern technology. Just imagine the consequences of Pakistani nuclear weapons falling into the hands of Muslim extremists.

RF.net: Based on these disgruntlements of yours what simple proposition would you have for the betterment of the world today then?
RoO: It is fanciful to think there is a simple solution to the world’s complex problems. But there are no problems that cannot be solved by the application of clear reasoned thinking.

RF.net: Ok, so to look forward to the future, my sources indicate your deal with Metal Blade is a 4-album one. If so, how long should we be waiting for album no.2? Are ideas already floating around in this productive purple patch for some of the band members concerned?
RoO: We are working on some new ideas. It is early days yet but it is sounding promising so far. Expect music in the same vein but a slightly different direction.

RF.net: Thanks for the time, best of luck with all and any upcoming projects.
RoO: Cheers for the interview.

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