On their third LP DegenerationWristmeetrazor’s nostalgia moves to melodic metalcore and nu metal but this razor’s edge isn’t quite as sharp as it once was.

Release date: March 29, 2024 | Prosthetic Records | Bandcamp | Instagram | Twitter

Wristmeetrazor have been one of the leading bands in the last 5 years or so that have taken the hardcore and metalcore scene back 20+ years. Named after a song by the underappreciated and now reformed screamo group Usurp Synapse, Wristmeetrazor have been alongside Seeyouspacecowboy in leading the charge. Degeneration is their third album and eschews that earlier screamo influence for a different style of 2000s edgy teenager, with melodic metalcore like Killswitch Engage and nu metal like Chimaira more the flavour of this one. The album still has a lot going for it, with Justin Fornof’s snarled vocals and some memorable riffs to get into but it somewhat loses the intensity and excitement of their first two albums.

Now, I don’t want to put this down to a stylistic change which means Wristmeetrazor is now less worth paying attention to. Their sophomore LP Replica of a Strange Love was a very different animal to their debut Misery Never Forgets as they threw themselves into the heavy metalcore of the current scene (produced by scene leaders Knocked Loose’s Isaac Hale) and eschewing a large amount of their screamo styings, but without losing their personality. What I find on Degeneration is that I’m not engaged by the band as much as on their previous albums.

In terms of the actual music, Degeneration starts off with a really strong set of songs. The slightly cringe-worthy nu metal of bands like Spineshank is still something I enjoy so the classic throwback of “Turn on, Tune in, Drop Dead” is an immediate and interesting start to an album that sets a tone for an album full of this. Follow up, “Static Reckoning” shows the other side, and in fact the more prominent side of the album, which is the melodic metalcore style of the album. Again it feels like a throwback to older bands, especially the early era of Killswitch Engage but going even earlier to the progenitors of the genre with riffs reminiscent of the legendary Prayer For Cleansing. Lead single “Trepanation” is a sort of blend of both styles but does lean more nu metal. When I heard this as a single I thought it was laying the groundwork for Wristmeetrazor’s nu metal classic, full of personality, charisma and style of their own while in keeping with their source material. The overblown lighting and almost monochrome look of the video, especially with Justin’s long black gloves, are a real vibe to match too.

From here, the momentum carries on into another high energy throwback metalcore number with “Xeroxed Reflection”. The fast, sometimes even tremolo picked riffs lead throughout with heavy breakdowns over a splash symbol giving some real balance to the tempo. There’s a real array of riffs across the song giving it a real excitement, before it cuts into the first bit of clean vocals for the album, reminiscent of the high-pitched vocals of Sonny Moore-era From First to Last. The industrial influences of nu metal creep in to begin “DogdayGod” with a fast beginning as an acoustic d-beat is mixed between the programmed drums. It’s new ground for the album, bringing in sounds similar to those of classic Fear Factory with a modern metalcore flavour.

Truthfully, I start to lose my way with the album from here. “Love Thy Enmity” is a return to the melodic metalcore of the some of the earlier songs and that’s really where the album stays from here on out. The ups and downs, stylistic shifts and little hints of difference seem to dissipate. While the melodies, especially of the chorus on this track, are intriguing it gets a bit typical from here. Even the quick sub-1 minute blast of “Culled and Forgotten” is just a shortened version of the same, there’s a melodic riff, a snarled vocal and it goes into a breakdown from here. “Synthetic-51n” is a more Slipknot-styled version of their Wristmeetrazor metalcore, with a tense refrain breaking up different sections but still lacks a little something to get my blood pumping for it.

Sadly, the album peters out from here. It keeps up the tempo, the riffs are still fast, the vocals are still in your face and there’s no faulting the musicianship but all in all it gets a bit of a slog. Throughout “No Ceremony”, “The Vanity Procession” and “Negative Fix”, I find myself tuning out a little bit. Especially with the vocals, there’s not too many ups and downs, no lines to grasp onto and I just can’t find anything to keep me locked in. Finally, though, and my biggest criticism is the 2-in-1 closer “Greatest Love Offering In The History of the World”. The first minute or so is a continuation of the rest of the album before a slightly abrupt end, except it isn’t the end. There’s one more ‘treat’ in store as a ‘secret’ song, “Plasticine” begins just a few seconds later. Honestly, it’s a very below-par, straight-forward and overly melodic song which is beyond underwhelming. I don’t really know what to say about it as an end to the album other than it leaves a bitter taste.

Degeneration is hot and cold, it starts hot but runs a fair bit cold for much of the latter part of the album. Moving on stylistically from their first two albums, Wristmeetrazor seem to have fallen into the trap of the difficult third album while losing a lot of their charisma. In terms of the nostalgic hardcore and metalcore style, wake me up when guitarist Tyler Norris’ other band Foreign Hands finally drop their debut LP.



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