Friday, May 21, 2010

Oxidized Razor - La Realidad Es Sangrienta

Oxidized Razor - La Realidad Es Sangrienta
2001, American Line Productions

When reviewing the work of a band like this, of course it's tempting right away to try to turn one's hand to all kinds of putrefact similes, inspired in part by the legacy of imagery-mad hype that Relapse records has bequeathed to us, for example, or the sort of plays on words that Carcass excelled at: turning the ultra-realistic, the very machinery of the body, into canvases for coronor metaphors and splatter alliteration; making the review, the text centered on the work, a kind of demonstration, through sound manipulation - the poetry of the serial killer - of the aesthetics of the release. In talking about Oxidized Razor (as in 'Oxidized Razor Masticator', the Carcass song), adjectives are almost useless - what good will it do for you to hear that this is yet another terrorizing murdergrind band, intent as all their predecessors on exploring the sanguinary channels of gratuitous gore? In fact, I believe that Oxidized Razor has to be approached in a different way, in looking at this music from the standpoint of one who has seen the origin, evolution, and explosion of their entire genre, and who now desperately dreads the uprising of any more bands like this. Instead of concentrating on what this band sounds like coming out of your stereo speakers, let's see what else they have to say, reading from and interpreting the other material given to us in this release...

At a certain point, and it is useless to try to pinpoint it anymore in terms of exact chronological history or place it within the realm of the death metal process - that constant metamorphosis of death aesthetics that started with Venom, Slayer, Bathory, et al. and which, at this point I am trying to ignore, became less of a musical revolution and more of a obsessive concentration on extremity for its own sake. Once again, an artistic movement became lost in the quandary of means instead of finding its way to verifiable ends, turning away from the music as expression, as a way to quantify, describe, or qualify emotional directives, and becoming, in itself, a way to further its own nihilistic focus on surfaces - the guitar tones, the speed of the drums, the depth and savagery of the vocals, and (most importantly) the vile depravity of the lyrics became the most important aspects of the art. What about expressive melodies, songwriting, passion in the art? Forgotten, left behind. That is why, as I just wrote, I consider this form of music to be the most nihilistic and depressing on earth - it is the sound of men and their minds unable to escape the labyrinth of surfaces playing on surfaces. The only value it has for me at this point is the depth to which these bands can sink in trying to make their music so ugly, vile, and unlistenable that it becomes, in itself, a sort of protest against the contemporary ideas of musical 'worth' bandied about in our culture. It is also interesting in itself as a display of suicidal desperation - music as one last groan as a civilization falls to its knees. As such, it definitely has a place...but it's a one-act show, after they hold this sign up high, what else can they offer? Why listen to this?

So, shock value aside (and Oxidized Razor revel in that, the photos in this release are very, very disturbing - including the tray card art, which seems to be a picture of the decaying body of an elderly woman who was tied up, raped, and tortured to death), this band's main point, and one which they go to great lengths to explain in their liner notes, is that 'La Realidad' is, essentially, 'Sangrienta'. Reality is...bloody, filled with gore. All the photos in the insert are from real life - I'm guessing from Mexican tabloids - and are extremely depressing, including the second picture, which is of a woman laying on a bed, once again, who has been disembowelled, her intestines ripped from her torso and left dangling next to her. The notion is, of course, the brutality of human on human, the 'inhuman' way that men and women treat each other, the subversion of mind and manipulation of the body as object. Oxidized Razor want you to feel, whether you want to or not, the fragility of the human frame, the essential degradation of our carnal natures - both as predators and prey. In this they are somewhat original, if only because they come out and give their statements of purpose boldly, whereas other bands left it to be understood by the nature of their music itself. Purpose they felt like no one was understanding the thrust of this movement, and they had to become even more obvious, ever more inflammatory...

In the 'preaching' aspect of this work, one can of course create ties to hardcore bands, or other political grindcore entities such as Agathocles, who sought early on to reduce, through their lyrics and imagery, the human body to the same status as animal meat, which we degrade and devalue in order to consume without guilt. Ostensibly railing from the pulpit in the name of peace and brotherhood, this band takes the 'extreme' route of rubbing your face in the essential nature of reality: man against man, man against the monsters that men are...

Musically? What can I tell you? Oxidized Razor are closer to being the sonic equivalent of a meat grinder than an actual musical gathering. This is harsh, ultra-distorted, cacophonous, blasting splattergrind, with vocals that shake the floor...you've heard it before...