TOSSED BARBS "With a lot of metal, people want to be as extreme as they possibly can," says Alex
Citrone (second from left). "When it gets to a certain point, it's like, 'What the fuck am I listening to?' "
For a kind-of goofy metal dude, Alex Citrone is pretty serious — especially when he talks metal, and especially when he's talking about his band, Boston shred titans Razormaze. All bands at a certain point have to decide whether to get serious or stop bothering, but metal bands additionally often have to figure out if and when they will begin to inject capital-S Seriousness into their cartoonish early genre exercises. For Citrone, though, going to metal in the first place was the serious move, if only due to the genre's technical requirements and adherence to pure adrenaline. "There is a lot of goofy crap always coming out of metal, but there has always been goofy crap coming out of music in general," he says. "I have always seen thrash as a pretty pure, super-energized form of metal that is raw and awesome."
Perhaps Citrone's perspective on the relative seriousness of thrash is influenced by his joke-punk past (including a stint in the high-concept farm-punk collective Aggro-Culture), but either way, his band is poised to make a significant impact on modern metal. Since forming in 2007, Razormaze have been on a mission, both of spreading the thrash gospel and of constant and persistent self-improvement. The evidence is tangible, as the band has evolved from their early bashings to a modern attack that is sharp, focused, and song-centric. Chalk it up to perseverance. "There are countless bands that came along since thrash's resurgence that, you know, did the whole flip-hats-and-beer-and-partying thing," Citrone says. "And don't get me wrong, we are all totally goofballs by nature; I mean, we're some of the silliest people alive. But we take our music super-seriously, and we try to bring something new to the table. I mean, barebones thrash is cool, you can write some good songs that way, but how far can you take it?"
Citrone and Co. are in many ways zigging where many metal bands of today are zagging, in that they are eschewing the culture of extremity in a move toward inclusive metal music. "With a lot of metal," he says, "people want to be as extreme as they possibly can. When it gets to a certain point, it's like, 'What the fuck am I listening to?' "
Razormaze's next record won't drop until later in the year, once the band settles on an album title, release date, and record label. But an advance listen to the new disc reveals that it's a quantum leap forward even from the evolved technical thrash of 2010's Miseries EP. It's got the gallop of classic thrash, but tossed in are moments of jarring lockstep groove à la Pantera (with a low-end punch courtesy of bassist Sam Nevin), breakneck Rust in Peace–y leadwork (courtesy of secret weapon guitarist Dave Carlino), and brutal blast beats (thanks to the idiosyncratic trapwork of Nick Lazarro).