Release Date: 11th June 2021
Record Label: Prosthetic Records
For Fans Of: SeeYouSpaceCowboy, Underoath, .gif from god
The term ‘throwback’ seems more prevalent than ever in the current metalcore scene. While bands and artists have been honouring bygone genres since music began (or more specifically, ten years or so after music began), there has been such an increase within the metal scene that the term ‘throwback’ is often one of the prominent descriptors for a new band. Currently, the era that such artists are nostalgic for is the early noughties. MySpace screamo, metalcore, nu metal, it’s all the rage again (which leaves listeners of a certain age suddenly feeling very, very old…).
Wristmeetrazor are one such band that wear the 00’s influence on the sleeves of their elbow length, black and red fingerless gloves. Despite often pitched simply as a screamo throwback band, there are so many more ingredients to their nostalgic cocktail. Whether it’s the metalcore sound that was initially inspired by Swedish melodeath, the yin and yang of clean vs. screamed vocals of post-hardcore, or the downright weirdness found within nu metal, Wristmeetrazor encapsulate the entire spectrum of 2000’s Kerrang! with their new record, Replica Of A Strange Love.
As is expected of the style and era, chugging guitar riffs are aplenty on the band’s second full length, interspersed with squealing pinch harmonics and shrieking harmonics, yoyoing from rumbling low ends to piercing highs. Tracks such as ‘Eyes Of Sulfide’ make extensive use of pitch-shift, rocketing nasty clash chords up a few octaves to really test the listener’s resistance – while also sending any nearby dogs into a howling frenzy, no doubt. Due to the improvement in production quality over the years, the breakdowns present on Replica Of A Strange Love hit harder than those found from album originators. Furthermore, with the gift of hindsight, Wristmeetrazor are able to avoid the pitfalls and focus on the strength of the genres they are recreating, yielding a record that, while not as innovative, is more enjoyable than many early 2000s releases.
Outside of the relentless barrage of downtuned riffing, the band are not afraid to reveal some of their more left field influences. As previously mentioned, the nu metal weirdness creeps through on ‘Love’s Labor’s Lost’, with the almost spoken word vocals resembling Jonathan Davis at his most sinister, supported by shrill, dissonant guitar melodies. Track ‘99 & 44/100’ has more in common with industrial metal than any of the aforementioned genres, driven by reverb heavy drum machines, synth, and threatening whispered vocals with perfect diction (enunciation always makes things scarier).
Despite being a thoroughly enjoyable listen, the record does end on a low point. Running a veritable clip show of metal subgenres that listeners can get sentimental over, one would hope that the closing track would incorporate all heard so far into a powerhouse screamo rager. Unfortunately, ‘All The Way Alive’ is one of the more reserved moments of Replica Of A Strange Love, sounding like a Marilyn Manson-esque take on 80’s synthpop. This is by no means a bad thing, but really, this is how you’re ending the album? Less of going out with a bang, are more like fizzling out to nothing.
Replica Of A Strange Love is a solid, well produced album. The variety in styles prevents the throwback sound from becoming stale, and Wristmeetrazor have a clear love and encyclopaedic knowledge of noughties metal. However, when compared to other bands who have been labelled a throwback act, most notably Vein or SeeYouSpaceCowboy, there is a lack of innovation. The tribute, if you will, is accomplished, and will definitely satisfy fans of the era, but there really needs to be that extra something special in order to have lasting appeal.
‘Nietzsche Is Dead’, ‘Eyes Of Sulfide’, ‘This Summer’s Sorrow II: Growing Old In The Waiting Place’
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