BORDER CITY REBELS
Released on April 23, 2018 (Löve Razër)
Say what you will about the invention of the internet. It may have closed a lot of doors on musicians, but it also opened up other opportunities like self promotion, self management and immediate global reach. I remember back in the ’80s, I used to wait for the news agent to get publications like Kerrang, Metal Hammer, RIP and Metal Edge into stock so I could catch up on what was happening with the bands I followed. Often there would be an article or two on up and coming bands which might grab my attention, and if I was really lucky, the magazine would sometimes come with a promotional cassette tape of song samples from various artists. However, being in Australia, these publications were often several months old at the time, so for me, the internet has been a pivotal tool for discovering new bands and new music.
My first introduction to Löve Razër was right here on the very pages of Sleaze Roxx. The article was about the band’s video clip for the song “First Class Bitch” which was off their three-song EP called Rock ‘N’ Roll Addiction released in 2016. I listened to the song and I immediately loved it. The video clip was also very well done and showcased the band as having an image that was very reminiscent of ’80s hard rock, which suited the song to perfection. Overall, they looked as if they were really putting in a lot of effort to make everything sound, feel and look bigger than your average up and coming band. I then downloaded Rock ‘N’ Roll Addiction, and whilst I loved “First Class Bitch”, to me, the other two songs were just okay, but there was definitely potential in the air.
Fast forward two years and Löve Razër have just released their debut album titled Border City Rebels. The album contains eight tracks and has a total running time of approximately 31 minutes. And what a great 31 minutes it is! From the opening gunshot effect and the musical onslaught of “Outlaw”, you immediately know that this is going to be a rocking album. Micky Bonez‘s guitar tone really showcases his abilities and because the sound is so clean, the riffs are at the forefront of the music thanks to the great mixing. Before you know it, “Too Hot To Handle” is upon us with a groovy bass line intro that almost feels like a continuation of “Outlaw.” But once the guitar hits and Sydney Snow‘s raspy vocals commence lyrical proceedings, the similarities end. The song oozes sleaze, as does everything on the album, and is complimented by a simple catchy chorus that will have the listener shouting out loud without even realizing it.
The third track “Venom” was released as the first single from the album with an accompanying video clip, which can be found below. Once again, the song is a straight up rocker and I have to agree that it was the most logical choice for a single to introduce the band to new listeners. “Lifeline” begins with a subdued guitar intro and then shifts into overdrive with some quick pick motion guitar chugging. The great thing about Border City Rebels is that every song, even though being purely driven by great riffs, has a lot of variety when it comes to song structures, lyrical melodies and changes in energy. The chorus in “Lifeline” is a great example as it downshifts the tempo to simple chords and produces a very commercial type feel. The same can be said for the next song “Trip To Nowhere” which also has a simple yet effective chorus. And after five songs, it becomes quite evident that Löve Razër know how to write a catchy chorus or two, and also know how to get the listener participating unexpectedly.
What is a rock album without a power ballad? “Stuck Under You”, the second single released from the album begins with some nice acoustic guitar arpeggio, thundering bass notes and subdued vocals. The standard ingredients required for any ballad are right here minus the customary piano. But hey, you’ve been sucked in — this is no ballad! Once the chorus hits, the song morphs into a blistering rock attack and never relents until the acoustic guitar returns for the outro. I have to admit that when I first heard the intro to the song, I immediately thought ‘Oh no, a boring ballad’ but when that chorus hit, my face lit up like Christmas.
In my opinion, the highlight of the album follows in the form of “Partied Out Freak.” What a song! Simple, catchy, energetic and a real fist pumper. Löve Razër really come together as a band on this song with every member shining. This time around, the pre-chorus initiates the catchiness and is followed up by some great gang vocals in the chorus. The last song “Toxic Tears” shifts the energy back a notch to produce a song that feels more like a ballad than “Stuck Under You” does. The foundation of a main riff is dispensed with in favour of chugging power chords as well as some nice guitar melodies. The song successfully produces a nice calm atmosphere to close out the album.
I cannot speak highly enough of Border City Rebels. For a debut album, it is a top notch effort that has just the right amount of modern versus ’80s hard rock nostalgia to it. If you like Mötley Crüe or Guns N’ Roses, then you are going to love Löve Razër. Everything about the album feels well planned and professional. The songs are great, the instruments sound terrific and the packaging and artwork are superb. Let’s not dwell on the fact that the song lyrics in the booklet are in a different order than the final track listing or that there are only eight songs on the album. Ultimately, that will only make you want more.
Sydney Snow‘s vocals really suit Löve Razër‘s style of music and he implements a lot of variety into the delivery of the lyrics. Often during the songs, he will switch from a raspy voice to falsetto to full on squeals and I would sometimes find myself on the edge of my seat just waiting for his voice to blow out. He sounds like he is singing right on the edge of his abilities and that in itself is exciting. Micky Bonez‘s guitar playing shines across the whole album,. His style is clean, solid and simple. It’s good to hear a guitarist that doesn’t over do things for the sake of being technical. It’s also good to hear a guitarist that can actually play some great solos and melodies in this day and age, when everyone was fearing that the art of guitar playing was dead. Metal Mike‘s thundering bass provides the perfect bottom end foundation for Löve Razër‘s songs and his rhythm section partner, Crissy Stixx‘s drumming is simply perfect. Of note, the drumming and patterns on “Partied Out Freak” are phenomenal.
I will go as far as saying that if Judas Priest hadn’t released Firepower this year, Löve Razër‘s Border City Rebels would be at the top of my 2018 favorites’ list. And maybe with a bit more time and a few more rotations, it might actually make it to the top.
Track List for Border City Rebels:
02. Too Hot To Handle
05. Trip To Nowhere
06. Stuck Under You
07. Partied Out Freak
08. Toxic Tears
Sydney Snow – lead vocals
Micky Bonez – guitar, backing vocals
Metal Mike – bass, backing vocals
Crissy Stixx – drums, backing vocals
Produced and engineered by Martin Bak
Assisted by Justin Dow
Reviewed by Daz for Sleaze Roxx, May 2018
Löve Razër‘s “Venom” video:
CreditsVideo Directed, Filmed and Edited by Ryan Brough of Zeebrah Media – https://zeebrahmedia.comAudio: https://slr-studios.com/—————————…
Löve Razër‘s “Stuck Under You” video:
On August 4th, 2017 Löve Razër played at Seacliff Park Amphitheatre in Sydney Snow’s hometown of Leamington, Ontario at the Hogs For Hospice motorcycle rally…