The seeds of "Razamanaz" were sown in NAZARETH's self-titled debut, and the band perhaps needed to loose the reins a bit on "Exercises" to dash on the unprepared listener with what many consider their finest creation. "Razamanazin' you never expected"? The lightning on the cover is but a slight indication of thunder that lives inside, and there's hardly enough room to breeze once the title track's riff cuts the slack of silence: the sparseness of Manny Charlton's guitar lines and Darrel Sweet's intense beat comes filled with Dan McCafferty's all-encompassing vocal hook and clear statement of intent - "We won't allow you a second to slow down / The moment has come to deliver" - until Pete Agnew's propeller-like bass gets into the rumble for a swirling rock 'n' roll chorus which makes it impossible to sit still. Yet don't get fooled by the "we haven't come to be clever" part, as the quarter and their producer Roger Glover put a lot of thought in the record, and the testament to the group's eventual decidedness would be a new cut of the previous LP's "Woke Up This Morning".
But if it wasn't enough for the bluesy pseudo-fatalism - shaped really tragic in the anthemic "Sold My Soul" with guitar orchestra emulating the string ensemble - more of this is served in another slide guitar-awashed number, a take on Pete Seeger's "Vigilante Man", including the gallow pole march, and the band's own creepy, multi-layered "Alcatraz". As criminal as it gets, the closer, "Broken Down Angel", sees the foursome wear the collective bleeding heart on their sleeve and put a little Scottish wail in-between the tight voice pack. All this is heavy and insistent, with a well-hidden grin that expands into a broad smile for the rhythm section-driven, low end-boasting chop of "Night Woman" and its tie-in hooligan boogie stomp "Bad Bad Boy". Masters of twist in every tale, NAZ allow themselves to go twisting recklessly in "Too Bad, Too Sad", but that's exactly the kind of badness all of us need to contrast the existence the group paint in a B-side song "Hard Living", one of bonus tracks here, four of these the BBC renditions of the album's numbers.
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