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Razor Wire Shrine (USA) - 2004 - "Going Deaf for a Living"
(45 min, PMM)


1.  Shards 6:26
2.  Crackling Dementia 6:04
3.  Architecture for the Tortured Soul 8:28
4.  Though Reside 6:06
5.  To Strike a Personal Chord 8:20
6.  All Shades of Bitter 5:57
7.  World of Hurt 4:18

All tracks: by RWS.
Arrangements: B Rodler.


Chris Rodler - bass & rhythm guitars
Brett Rodler - drums & percussion
Mike Omm - lead guitars
Gary Madras - bass (on 4)

Produced by RWS.
Engineered by C. Rodler.

Prolusion. Along with Leger De Main, >Gratto, and >Mythologic, to name a few, Pennsylvania's RAZOR WIRE SHRINE (RWS hereafter) is one of the projects that are inseparably linked with the creative activity of Chris and Brett Rodlers. The first RWS album "Going Deaf for a Living" is the brainchild of the Rodlers brothers and guitarist Mike Ohm.

Synopsis. Archetype: Hard Rock. Benefactor: indeterminable. Creeds: Prog-Metal and guitar Art-Rock. The album was created within the framework of a unified stylistics, the main genre constituents of which are Prog-Metal and guitar Art-Rock, which, however, is often harsh as well. The most considerable attendant directions are Techno-Metal and Jazz-Fusion. The bits of Cathedral Metal appear usually episodically, but are more than merely evident at the end of the album. In detail, the stylistic picture of the material looks as follows. A very well balanced blend of Prog-Metal and guitar Art-Rock with elements of Techno-Metal and Jazz-Fusion is presented on Shards, Crackling Dementia, Though Reside, and All Shades of Bitter (1, 2, 4, & 6). World of Hurt (7) is much in the same vein, but there also are distinct elements of Doom and Cathedral Metal. These five are intensive practically throughout. Some place to rest can be found on Architecture for the Tortured Soul and To Strike a Personal Chord (3 & 5), both of which present a trinity of guitar Art-Rock, Jazz-Fusion, and Prog-Metal with the slight predomination of the former genre. The music is outstandingly original and is for the most part highly intricate and eclectic with literally kaleidoscopic changes of tempo, tone and mood, highly virtuosi solos of all the instruments involved, and a rather raw, yet, positive energy. The guitar solos and riffs come across the exclusively complex parts of rhythm section, crashing into each other in a most unexpected way so as to immediately transform into something different, and a 'current' theme resembles both the previous and following ones as much as an animal, bird and fish resemble one another. In other words, the tracks (and they are true pieces of art) are so chock full of the essential progressive features, tending to change each other as if as promptly as possible, that I would need a few days to describe each of them in detail. But while the development of musical events on the album is completely unpredictable, its compositional integrity and the cohesiveness of arrangements always remain unchangeable. So most of the 'classic' Prog-heads might rather easily join this turbulent musical river, confidently avoiding riffs and getting more and more delectation with each successive listen. Some pieces contain unimaginably unique sounding guitar solos and riffs. Although this music of RWS as such is not dependent on any comparisons, by some structural peculiarities and the level of complexity it is similar to Sieges Even and Voivod. These are two of the very best Prog-Metal bands of all time, and it does not matter that they are highly underrated or, perhaps, just misunderstood. It is quite possible that the hero of this review will also go unnoticed for a more or less large audience, but the qualities of it won't turn for the worse because of that.

Conclusion. Brilliantly composed, arranged, and performed, "Going Deaf for a Living" is the most eccentric and, at the same time, the most compelling and interesting album by the Rodler brothers and is the best Prog-Metal-related album I've heard in the last six months, at least. It is a must for anyone maintaining friendly relations with a complicated progressive music.

VM: June 26, 2004

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