Wristmeetrazor Begin Third Album Campaign With Caustic First Single, "Trepanation"

Wristmeetrazor Begin Third Album Campaign With Caustic First Single, "Trepanation"

- By Ramon Gonzales

Architect Justin Fornof offers some insight on life after Replica of A Strange Love, working with producer Randy Lebeouf and how the new album Degeneration, is the most complete version of the band yet. 

Photo by Ashley Simpson

Following the success of the band's 2021 full length, Replica of A Strange Love, metalcore disruptors WRISTMEETRAZOR found themselves in a unique position. Having earned praise for an album celebrated for its meld of subgenre, combined with scoring traction among fans with a succession of subsequent touring - the band, particularly architect Justin Fornof, found themselves wonder where to go next.

To ensure the music didn't become formulaic, Fornof and the most current configuration of the band made the conscious decision to seek retreat in the refocus. In much the same way that WMR's sophomore album offered some thematic substance, bearing philosophical weight with Nietzchian references amid twisted romanticism, Fornof was intent on making the next version of WMR again found a balance of intensity and intellect. 

Enlisting the expertise of veteran producer Randy Lebeouf, the now quintet found themselves sequestered in the woods outside of New Jersey, committed to refining their sound with zero influence or distraction from their environment. Marathon 12-hour recording sessions and a full self-imposed immersion program would extend for a full month of isolation in an attempt to truly get the balance right. 

The result is the band's third full length album, Degeneration. A flagrant disregard of genre, roping in elements of nu-metal, industrial and EBM to create a kind of metalcore that refuses to be contained by category. Thematically, while Replica Of A Strange Love offered a unique introspective ire, Degeneration sources its hostility in examining humanity's dark corners - confronting the moral, political and religious virtue signaling that tears at the fabric of society. 

From those murky waters, the band found inspiration and a renewed sense of vitality which resulted in what they feel is their best foot forward and the most complete version of themselves yet. Aiming to refine their sound and build upon what they had established with 'Replica', WMR pooled their collective strengths to level up, rather than rest on their laurels. 

Speaking on the beginning of their new era, the significance of the first single "Trepanation" and the transformation that lead to the Degeneration frontman Justin Fornof has an auspicious outlook on all things WMR. 

What were some of the lessons learned from Replica Of A Strange Love? What from that cycle carried over as you started fleshing ideas for Degeneration?
Fornof - The release and touring cycle for 'Replica' changed my outlook on a lot. Entering it I felt new, like I had just attained a fresh gloss of paint. Leaving it, I felt rusted, malfunctioning and callous. That callousness is how I still feel in some ways. There is a prospective on music that I accept now, that maybe I wouldn’t have accepted then. Musically, we wanted more. We’re all pretty eclectic musicians and in order to do the band the way we wanted to do it, it needed to break through some of the tropes we had fallen into.
WMR took on some extensive touring in the last couple of years. How did the live translation of your sound impact your songwriting? 
Fornof - Performing live is very important to us, that is one of the first major considerations when writing new music. We have a general idea of what we want to hear and what we want to play. The live reaction factors in and is important too, but I don’t think we base our sound solely on what the audience wants to hear live. I give immense credit to the people who listen to our band, they’ve evolved with us. They are here for what we create and I can never be thankful enough for that.
Was there any learning curve in bringing different personnel into WMR? Does the band write by committee or does everyone have a role they are delegated? 
Fornof - The way the circumstances presented themselves, it felt very natural. Elaine started playing bass on the very first tour in support of 'Replica'. Nate joined in early 2022 and did a full year of touring with us before we went to the studio. They were already pretty ingratiated members of the band by the time we really started putting this record together. As for the actual process itself, we all bring something to the table in terms of riffs/beats/ideas.
This time around we were very fortunate that our friend Randy Lebeouf was on deck to reel us in, he did a fantastic job producing, engineering, mixing, mastering. He was instrumental in the whole process.
How did you determine that Randy Lebeouf would be best suited to produce this album? How vital was he to seeing the band to their full potential with this release? 
Fornof - I had only heard great things about Randy before choosing him to do the record. He challenged us in ways that I think we needed to be challenged. The prospective he added is unlike what you can get with any other producer. He’s both a big picture guy and a minutia guy, which fits the maximalist approach we’ve taken with 'Degeneration'.
The band worked in isolation for this record. What was the thinking in sequestering yourself and how did that affect the music - good and bad.
Fornof - Only good. There needs to be pain involved in art; otherwise, you’re left with some of the vapidity that’s running so rampant right now.
The overarching theme of the album seems to be defined with the title. Given how bleak the tone of the record is, do you find any therapeutic value in dissecting the shittiest parts of society in song? 
Fornof - The album title is kind of just the tip of the iceberg. It’s not only society that’s degenerating, but also myself. I’m the man in the mirror. It’s therapeutic in a way, but also it’s an every man reflection to a certain extent. I’m reporting from the front lines. I’m not special.
Stylistically, WMR has always colored outside the lines. Do you find being eclectic as a songwriter makes it difficult to find focus and narrow down those ideas? 
Fornof - There are two unique parts to this, instrumental and lyrical. Both of which I think are applicable. Instrumentally, we like a lot of music. Each one of us is obsessed, to put it lightly. That evolution will exist as long as we do. Lyrically, as I said in response to the last question, I’m the man in the mirror. I think if anyone really wanted to shut me up, they’d just give me everything I wanted. Nothing interesting is comfortable.
For fans that discovered WMR on Replica... how do you think Degradation will reaffirm their love for the band? 
Fornof - It takes every aspect of the band that you liked on 'Replica' and amplifies it by 100.
Degeneration, the third album from Wristmeetrazor arrives March 29th via Prosthetic Records. Order the album - HERE
See the tracklisting and cover art from Alex Eckman-Lawn (END, Dim Mak, Woe) below. 


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