Nazareth were (and still are), one of the hidden gems of hard rock. Admittedly their first couple of albums weren’t spectacular, as they struggled to capture their hard rocking sound in the studio. However, during a tour supporting Deep Purple, they voiced their frustration to Purple bass player Roger Glover over a few beers one night, who offered his services as producer.
Those first sessions with Roger Glover resulted in Razamanaz, Nazareth’s breakthrough album, and the one that found them distilling the very essence of their sound under Glover’s guidance. Perhaps inevitably, there are sonic similarities to Glover’s band, particularly in the robust vocals of Dan McCafferty, however it’s also the album that confirms that the band could have a solid career ahead of them.
Razamanaz is a 70s rock workout that the uninitiated can easily fall in love with. The title track is pure head-down hard rock boogie bluster, and is one of the band’s calling cards, however it doesn’t over-shadow the rest of the album, which finds them tackle some proto-power ballads, as well as some well-hewn riff-rockers. Glover’s production is easily identifiable, but never heavy handed, getting the best out of the band without smothering their sound.
While there’s little on Razamanaz that would overshadow the stadium-bothering sounds of 70s rock giants like Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath, it established Nazareth as a band of solid hard rockers who continue to maintain a loyal grassroots following to this day. While they’re not always given the credit they deserve by nostalgia hungry rock revisionists, Razamanaz is all the evidence you need that they were a great hard rocking band whose back catalogue deserves to be explored by those of us who like their rock and roll loud and proud.