RAZAMANAZ – Razamanaz


Perris Records
Release Date: June 24, 2003

User Review
8/10 (1 vote)

Razamanaz. Now there’s an ‘80s band name. There’s probably some deep meaning behind it; maybe one of the band members had a “vision.” Or, they probably just thought it sounded cool. Regardless, the CD that never saw the light of day when it should have is shining now, offering some hard rock reminiscent of the days when metal ruled the airwaves.

The band is lead by guitarist Michael Kelly Smith, of Britney Fox fame. The interesting part about the band is singer/guitarist Cory Massi. In many ways, he sounds like Joe Elliot in his On Through the Night/High and Dry days. To paraphrase a line from another Metal Express reviewer, Def Leppard lost a good singer when Elliot learned how to sing, but this CD really brings you back.

The first track, “Urgency,” sounds quite a bit like old Def Leppard. The musicianship is a little clearer than the aforementioned band, but Massi is dead-on for an Elliot sound alike here. It’s a very cool introduction to the band, and a song that is impossible not to like.

You’ll get a Cult feel on the next song, “Feel It,” especially with the guitars bouncing speaker to speaker and the thumping drum kicking in. Vocally, it’s Massi doing Elliot again, but sooner or later, you’ll quit making comparisons and just enjoy the vocals. This song is more in touch with the happy ‘80s metal.

Though they don’t slow it down much on the CD, the song “Seasons of Wither,” is their strongest offering. The song is bluesy, and you’ll get more than a little Tesla comparison here at the beginning of the song. Massi is a chameleon in many ways, sounding like all of the good vocalists of that era, and it makes the CD enjoyable. It’s surprising no one published this back in the day, but since the band wasn’t formed until 1993, grunge was still pissing in the pool, drowning out hard rock bands.

They do a few covers here as well, and the best is the Kiss cover of “King of the Night Time World.” But the Paul Revere and the Raiders cover “Kicks” is done well too. It sounds a bit out of place, since the song is so mellow, but it does make the CD that much more interesting.

The CD actually has 15 tracks on it — studio, live and covers — so you get your money’s worth. You’ll have to check out “Rock and Roll Outlaw,” just because you’d swear this live version is Def Leppard again.

Razamanaz isn’t going to win the award for most innovative rock band. Sure, they do sound like a few different bands, but again, they sound like a lot of GOOD bands. Nothing wrong with that. And of course, Smith does play riffs that will remind you of Britney Fox as well. But playing in a genre like this, you’d better be above par if you even want someone to look your way. Looks like they hit a birdie.

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