As a website that caters admittedly to a large extent to sleaze / hair metal bands that had their heyday back in the ’80s and/or to newer groups that are able to replicate that ’80s sound, I am not surprised when I hear music from a new band that brings me back to that glorious ’80s era music wise. I am however surprised when I am taken back to the ’70s era by a new artist. That’s exactly what happened as soon as I heard the opening riff on the first track, the aptly named, “Planet Riff” on Razorbats‘ debut album Camp Rock.
Really, I should not have been surprised because everything surrounding Camp Rock and the band seems to be screaming old school ’70s style era. It starts with the very cool black and white album cover which simply displays a young long haired kid (a young Morten Andersen) attending a concert (Riff Raff) in 1983. The irony of course is that the photograph was taken in the ’80s but reminds me of the ’70s era, partly due to the black and white imaging. It’s not that the ’70s had no colour to them but my family did not have a colour television until the early ’80s so it is likely that my inner mind equates black and white imaging with the ’70s… Further clues that the photo was actually taken in the early ’80s are all the bands listed on the various jean jackets on the front and back covers ranging from the Scorpions, Black Sabbath, Rush and Iron Maiden to name a few. Whatever the case, Razorbats‘ Camp Rock feels and looks ’70s and not ’80s to me.
Having grown up as a teenager in the ’80s, and having only eventually discovered in depth only a handful of bands emanating from and/or whose glory days were in the ’70s — such as Alice Cooper and KISS — I struggle to come up with an accurate comparison of which ’70s band that Razorbats sound like. But make no mistake about it, the sound coming from Razorbats is a refreshing and really good ’70s sound. Just like a lot of records from that era, there is a lot of variety on Camp Rock from the moody almost ballad pace “Desolation Highway” to the riff based rocker “Kids Of The 70s” to the punk rocker “Betty Boop.”
Despite the wide variety of songs on Camp Rock, I find that the songs work well as a cohesive unit with Razorbats having a defined and unique sound to their delivery. I like all the tracks on Camp Rock. There are no tracks at this point that really stand out as being that band defining one but overall, they all work and fit so well together. It is almost as if the sum is greater than its parts. My favorite tracks on Razorbats‘ Camp Rock are “Betty Boop” with its punk like fury, the opener “Planet Riff” which sets the stage and mood nicely for the entire album, the single “Kids Of The 70s” and the moody “Transformer” with its very retro sound.
At the end of the day, Razorbats‘ Camp Rock is a rocking album which sets itself apart from the rest of the pack with the ’70s sound and feel. If you like ’70s sounding hard rock, you should definitely pick up Camp Rock or quite simply, if you like quality hard rock, you owe it to yourself to check out Razorbats.
01. Planet Riff
02. Internal War
03. Kids Of The 70s
04. Desolation Highway
06. Subway Grinder
09. Mess It Up
10. Betty Boop
Even Berg – vocals
Kjetil F. Wevling – guitar, backing vocals
Stig Sætevik – bass
Knut S. S. Wettre – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Suzy Dahl – additional backing vocals
Chris Damien Doll – additional backing vocals
Kasi Christoffersen – additional backing vocals and additional percussion
Erland Nyborg – additional guitar (1)
Produced, recorded and mixed by Kai Christoffersen
Mastered by Chris Sansom
Reviewed by Olivier for Sleaze Roxx, October 2015