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Image - Razor's Edge - 2004 Indy Release --EC

Track Listing
1. Mistress of the Night
2. Angelwitch
3. Gloria
4. Heaven is Hell
5. Walpurgisnight
6. Last Desire
7. Beyond the Sky
8. Wings of Fire
9. Light of the Gods
10. Silence
It is absolutely wonderful to read about all of these underground US bands working hard below the surface to scrape up a decent metal offering, one that both themselves and the listener can be proud of. What a sorry state of affairs the American scene would be in without quality underground bands like Image. Sure we have the "processed" metal goods like Iced Earth, Seven Witches, and Rob Rock, but I'm talking about the stripped down blue collar acts sprouting up all over the country. Image has been a mainstay in the metal community for years, dating back to 1985 with their four song EP. Recently I acquired the group's 2003 effort "Drowning In The Sea Of Life" as well as their newest release, the razor sharp "Razor's Edge" self released by the band. I was really blown away by the quality on both records, and decided to write up a review of their new one and get some exposure to this deserving, talented crew.

Image can actually lay claim to roots dating back to 1976. The band was founded by current drummer Rock Wicker and guitarist Steve Simpson. In 1981 Brian Primm replaced Simpson on guitar, with Mike
Metal stepping in on bass and David St. Clair on vocals. The group recorded the EP in 1985 and followed that with an album entitled "Resurrection" in 1987. In 1990 the group decided to go separate ways and found themselves under the Image moniker again in 2001. The group released their comeback album "Drowning In The Sea Of Life" in 2003 and now have released their brand new album "Razor's Edge"

For me Image would have really fit the Ebony label in the mid-80s. They have that traditional metal sound that was born out of the NWOBHM scene of the late 70s and early 80s. "Razor's Edge" manages to stay American through and through but does borrow a bit from the European scene. I can hear everything from Iron Maiden and Judas Priest to US metal like Racer-X and Dio. Brian Primm proves to be a fantastic guitar player, mixing up each song with fast licks and chops but settling down from time to time to add a bit of atmosphere in with some well placed slower riffs. Vocalist David St. Clair does an amazing job leading this brigade, at times sounding like a cross between Kevin Dubrow (Quiet Riot) and Tony Moore (Riot). His voice is a bit raspy at times but that seems to add a bit of an edge to the band's
sound.

The band really mix this album up, never concentrating on one particular facet to lure the listener in. Image creates some flashy metal, but they do write mature songs that showoff their musical ability to explore different avenues within a song. Perfect evidence would be "Crionics", a unique moody piece that builds into an eerie atmosphere. The same sort of writing goes into "Seeker Returns", another song with a huge climax. The band can drive straight forward with metal fury also, evident on "Resurrection" and "Phantasm". Favorite cut for me is the stormy opener "It Doesn't Matter", which rocks the ship with some titanic
riffs and monster groove.

Image really are the stranger in a strange land. In this day and age America really isn't in this type of metal mood. That is one of the reasons I like these guys so much. Just like other underground heroes like Overlorde, Attacker, and October 31, Image aren't afraid to play what they love. They are heavy metal, not to be confused with garage rock, indy rock, modern rock, or any other corporate rock that the suits and ties force down our throats to replace what we've grown to love. Image are all about talent, focus, and determination, and the results are clearly evident on this mammoth metal slab. "Razor's Edge" tops off a fantastic year of metal. Let's hope 2005 offers us some more of these fantastic underground sensations.

Cheers all around for a band that it isn't afraid to take chances!


--EC 02.10.05




About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



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Razor's EdgeImage
2004
Eric Compton2/9/2005


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