Razed in Black

Damaged

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Although the band is beloved of goth kids and darkwave aficionados, Razed in Black has always been more complex than that; the group has been featured on electro-clash, neo-goth and disco/techno compilations, and its new album includes stylistic shout-outs to everyone from Depeche Mode (on the lovely "Come Back to Me") to, well, Metallica (the very crunchy "Am I 2 Blame?"). With the help of guest artists that include Spahn Ranch, Neptune (who contributes lyrics on "Misunderstood") and DJ MissGuided, Razed in Black explore house, industrial, hip hop, metal and synth pop without ever sounding like dabblers or dilettantes, in part because bandleader and chief songwriter Romell Regulacion has a sure feel for hooks as well as a solid grounding in the Pavlovian elements of synth and industrial music: the jackboot house rhythms, the queasy synthesizer chords, the almost-human guitars. What it all adds up to is a sound more eclectic than some industrial snobs will think appropriate; and for everyone else, one of the most compelling albums of this genre (or these genres) in a long, long time. [The second disc in the package includes a handful of ho-hum remixes and two live videos.]

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