It’s unbelievably six years since Swedish glam/death punks Razorbats first came into my life via their musical suckerpunch of a debut record ‘Camp Rock’. Word of how insanely catchy that eleven track tour de force was spread like wildfire across the world wide web back in 2015 and if I remember correctly it was actually an avid reader of Uber Rock (who I was writing for at the time) who sent me a message saying “whoa John you really need to check this album out, it’s like Turbonegro jamming previously unreleased Starz and Cheap Trick songs. You will love it….”
And love it I did… as fast forward just a few short months and not only was ‘Camp Rock’ my favourite new album but the band were also booked to play a couple of UK shows, one of them being a headline slot at the legendary Slugfest here in south Wales, at which the band would go on to film the chaotic video for their then still to be released single ‘This High’.
Things were certainly looking good for Razorbats, when news suddenly broke that singer Even Berg was out the band and was being replaced by Paul Vercouteren (from sleaze rockers Virginia Hill) ahead of the release of the band’s 2018 sophomore album ‘II’. With Berg having been an intrinsic part of the Razorbats unique blend of punk and hard rock, I must admit I didn’t initially warm to that second album, and it took a good number of plays before I finally got beneath its skin. So, if the blurb that accompanies the band’s third long player to date is to believed – then things all kind of got on top of the ‘bats too, as this new record is an album they actually never thought they’d get around to writing, never mind recording. The band almost imploding for a second time in the back of their van amidst the hectic touring schedule that followed the release of ‘II’.
Praise be to the rock gods though that they did make it through, as even after just an initial couple of listens ‘Mainline Rock ‘N’ Roll’ is easily one of the best albums I’ve heard so far in 2021. With guitarist and band mainstay Kjetil Wevling along with Vercouteren once again joining up with guitarist Asle Tangen and adding a new powerhouse rhythm section of bassist Martin Korsgaard Hervig and drummer Christian Håpnes Svendsen along the way. Now these guys really do sound like they are ready to take on the world.
Kicking off this all new 10 track album we have ‘Rock N Roll Kills’, and the immediate thing that hits me is the step up this record has in the production department from its predecessor. The main riff to ‘Rock N Roll Kills’ really does sound like more of a mission statement than a song title given the immediate shock it is to the system it generates, and I do have to wonder if the production team of Kjetil Wevling (yup he’s a man of many talents) and Torris Ilievski might also happen to be fans of Michael Beinhorn’s stellar work during the multi-platinum selling grunge days, such is the potential for this tune to immediately be syndicated by rock radio stations worldwide. And it doesn’t stop there either folks, as the immense ‘Working For The Weekend’ and the almost Hanoi (with a decent production) greatness of ‘Rebel Soul’ twist and turn into your psyche like a slinky Axl Rose sideways dancing his way through the late 80s.
It’s when we get to ‘Little Ms. Crazy’ though that ‘Mainline Rock ‘N’ Roll’ really throws me the first musical curveball (not unlike ‘Camp Rock’ excelled at doing), and this really is when Razorbats stand out from the Scandirock pack. Granted this tune might be a step down in pace following the album’s frantic opening trio, but just for the last 30 seconds alone with its vocal refrain just waiting to get stuck going round and round in your head, this is without doubt a true highlight of this record.
For the rest of ‘Mainline Rock ‘N’ Roll’ the pedal is well and truly to the metal with the likes of ‘The City’, ‘White Trash Radio’ and album closer ‘Nightcrawlers’ perhaps being the closest the crue (sic) have ever sauntered into the field of cock rock, whilst the likes of the anthemic ‘Cocaine Karma’ and ‘Big Time’ and the reflective ‘Venice’ simply sound like Razorbats right back at the very top of their game and enjoying every second of it.
Look, buying a copy of ‘Mainline Rock ‘N’ Roll’ should be made compulsory for not just every RPM Online reader but also anyone who owns a record by any of the bands/musicians I’ve namechecked here. Trust me, ‘Mainline Rock ‘N’ Roll’ is guaranteed to drive you (Razor)bat shit crazy folks.
Now, hit the link/s below to get your copy!!!!! (UK fans can pick up a copy by emailing email@example.com)
Author: Johnny Hayward