With a name like Wristmeetrazor you could be forgiven for thinking the North American four-piece are some kind of melodramatic rehashing of the screamo and post-hardcore that once dominated early social media websites. It's a little more complicated than that.
No doubt, there’s definitely elements that borrow from classic 2004 MySpace screamo era and there’s a nostalgic feel to some of the record (see ‘Dies Irae’ for a really fun example) but large swathes of this album are seriously heavy as sin – like that breakdown on ‘Last Tango In Paris’, where the growled vocals sound almost death metal in quality. But beneath the borderline nostalgic aesthetic, there is nuance aplenty within the second LP from this band.
The fact that Replica Of A Strange Love is produced by Isaac Hale of hardcore heavyweights Knocked Loose should reveal a little something about some of the styles to expect. There are certainly plenty of hardcore elements and tight little beat-drop breaks but mostly what we’re looking at here is a classic metalcore type of sound - the ending of ‘Sycophant’ being a perfect example.
At times it’s difficult to tell if they’re actually doing anything new or pushing the genre forward. Metalcore, especially in this style, is such a tired, well-worn genre it’s exceptionally difficult to stand out. The music itself is certainly exciting to listen to, albeit a little repetitive over the runtime. Things definitely pick up a bit towards the middle of the album, however. ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ is an interesting movement away from the metalcore which breaks up the heaviness with delicacy and experimentation. ‘Anemic (The Same Six Words)’ shows promise and the aforementioned ‘Dies Irae’ is nostalgic, fun and just plain enjoyable, with all the elements you might expect from this band thrown into one. ’99 & 44/100’ is one of the more experimental tracks on the record but it’s moments like this where the band really shine and come into their own. It’s moments like this that actually make them different to other bands and not just ‘another metalcore band’. It has a fatalist post-industrial kind of vibe, with eerie synths in the background and barely audible half spoken vocals.
‘A Fractured Dovetail Romance’ is not only a great title for a song but as the album builds towards its close, this track is a standout moment with the melodic stirring middle section at 1:35 really driving the point home. ‘This Summer’s Sorrow II : Growing Old in the Waiting Place’ is the sort of grungy power ballad. With a soaring chorus and more delicate, cleaner guitars in places, it’s another track that showcases the band in a more versatile light.
Ending on the quieter and almost post-punk ‘All The Way Alive’ with its electronic drums and swirling synthy riff is an unusual and interesting choice given the content of the majority of the album. It really feels like there’s two halves to this record, literally.
Their stronger tracks are the ones where they move away from the metalcore and experiment with other genres and styles a bit more although this makes the album feel slightly disjointed in places. Overall, while some elements of the album are derivative and occasionally undiversified, there’s just enough experimentation here to make these guys stand out as an intriguing band with plenty more to offer and an interesting future ahead.