WRISTMEETRAZOR's 'Degeneration': Justin Fornof breaks down new album track by track | Revolver

WRISTMEETRAZOR's 'Degeneration': Justin Fornof breaks down new album track by track

Songs of murder, revenge and self-cannibalization
wristmeetrazor 2024 PROMO 2, Ashley Simpson
photograph by Ashley Simpson

You can expect a lot of pain out of Wristmeetrazor's new Degeneration full-length. This only seems natural, considering the U.S. metalcore extremists' third album was announced earlier this year alongside masochistic first single "Trepanation," on which vocalist Justin Fornof screeches about a self-cannibalizing fever dream that left him munching on his own damn hand. Pure nightmare fuel.

Speaking with Revolver, Fornof reveals that the rest of Degeneration — recorded deep in woods of New Jersey with producer Randy Lebeouf (The Acacia Strain, Dying Wish, Kublai Khan) — rolls out as a lyrically misanthropic assault of dark web murders, revenge fantasies and self-cynical sabotage.

That tonal bleakness is only amplified by the group's fierce new five-piece formation — after 2021's Replica of a Strange Love, Fornof put down his bass to go full frontman, the lineup fleshing itself out to now feature guitarist Nate Bill and four-stringer Userelaine.

With Wristmeetrazor' latest blast of nihilistic, brutal eclecticism officially out today (March 29th) via Prosthetic Records, Fornof fully walks Revolver through the uncomfortable, full-bore venom of the album — and one oddly specific, even cute bit of Ninetiess kid nostalgia — track by track.

"Turn on, Tune in, Drop Dead"

The beatniks had a phrase — that has been parodied quite a bit through the years — "Turn on, tune in, drop out." That phrase was essentially their awakening through experimentation that lead them to escaping modern society. In particular, capitalist consumer society.

I felt like in 2022 and 2023 I went on a similar vision quest — just without the drugs. In my journey, though, joining a commune wasn't the culmination of my meditation. I found myself navigating the absurdist landscape of career musicians and those doing business for them. Bogged down by the complexities of mass consumption and perceived fame, death feels like my culmination. A very different conclusion.

No disrespect to Timothy Leary.

"Static Reckoning"

This song is about being overcome with feeling numb. Mostly as a defense mechanism against a world that exploits vulnerability.

When you're a kid you're constantly seeking safety, as you grow your safety becomes less important. I feel like I protect those closest to me from the evils of the world and that has caused a callous numbness and unfeeling in me.

The last record dabbled in nihilism, whereas this record and this song is the reaction to that. I care so much that my safety is irrelevant.


Every Wristmeetrazor record has a song influenced by a dream, and this is that song for Degeneration.

The song is a reflection of a dream I had a few days before flying to New Jersey to record. I had dreamed that I was in some sort of nightmarish cooking show that had me cut off my own hand, boil and eat it. Afterwards I looked at the stump where my hand was and felt phantom movements.

I'm a bit of a masochist when it comes to certain pain, but the larger theory I was exploring was the idea of self-cannibalization. Pain and suffering is the way I entertain, even at my own expense. I hope you are entertained.

"Xeroxed Reflection" Feat. Kevin Iavaroni

I wrote this song specifically for my friend Kevin, who's also on the track. It explores the idea of the "thing maker" or "creepy crawlers," which were popular toys in the Eighties and Nineties that you added this gel to a tray with molds on it and created gummy toys.

A lot of current musicians are cheap imitations of the past, in a non-charismatic way. If you're going to have lots of influences, at least be charismatic about your thievery.


The song name references a man named Stephen Allwine, a preacher who hired a hit man off the dark web to murder his wife and the screen name alias he used was dogdaygod. I used that story as inspiration for a hypocrisy that exists across the entire spectrum of high moral integrity in America. From the top to the bottom.

However, my focus is on those who preach at a much more local level. It's more about little brother, not big brother. The social media moral hand-wringer and the local Christian finger pointer, two sides of the spectrum who think they are eliminating moral filth but instead are contributing to it in reprehensible and hypocritical ways.

I was raised Catholic and, in some ways, the judgmental nature I felt as a kid has returned. While I was writing the lyrics I had a Bible verse at the top of my word document that I would revisit every time I drew a blank. James 1:21. "Get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."

The subjectivity of "moral filth" and "evil" really drive the point home, in a much more clever way than I could ever dream.

"Love Thy Enmity"

I've always enjoyed a tongue-in-cheek song title, even more so when it appears outwardly almost cheesy. Peter Steele was a master at creating eye-roll-inducing song titles that really hit the spot. This is my play on the Christian trope of "love thy enemy." 

The song is about the maddening search for justice, in the face of that which is inherently unjust. To me, this follows the rough concept of the record, which is finding solace in absurdist misanthrope in spite of societal degeneration.

"Culled and Forgotten"

I excluded these lyrics from the booklet, internet and anywhere else that you could find lyrics for a reason.


It's man vs. machine now more than it's ever been and in new and horrific ways. The machine is taking different forms — it's a monster that we willingly feed. There is no need for Big Brother anymore now that little brother has the ability to speak to the world and by virtue unlimited perceived power. It's contributed to a culture of digital cannibalization. And those who hold the actual power, real Big Brother, are laughing their asses off.

"No Ceremony"

The other Wristmeetrazor trope that appears lyrically on our records is revenge fantasies. Misanthropy goes hand-in-hand with revenge. At every level of American life there is a ruling class. Every battle isn't against a shadowy, impregnable force from the highest pedestals of humanity. There is someone in your life who idolizes that level of control and lords it over you.

That's who this song is about.

"The Vanity Procession"

This is an indictment of niche celebrity.

Something that I find is an absolute plague on the current state of heavy music: fake celebrities with fake celebrity attitudes. Oftentimes these people are also creating the most contrived bullshit and are much more concerned with streaming numbers and Instagram likes than creating anything original.

Lyrically, this is as specifically venomous as the record gets. There were specific examples in mind when writing for this song. The message is mostly wrapped in metaphor — they'll never be accepted as a real celebrity but would give anything and walk over anyone to one day achieve something that resembles fame. It's sickeningly weak.

"Negative Fix"

A rare moment of vulnerability on a record about power.

It's about the dull, nagging voice inside that halts your progress and fills your head with negativity and cynicism. There is so much willpower needed to succeed in the face of failure, it inevitably leads to an internal struggle on occasion.

For me, that comes in the form of anxiety, depression and self-hatred. As I've grown older I've realized how counterproductive that is. However, the negativity fixes me like a pill, like an old habit. There is a conflict in me between the realization of bigger, more current enemies and holding onto the past.

"Greatest Love Offering in the History of the World"

Just like John Hinckley was alluding to when he originally spoke this quote, murder is the greatest offering of love. Violent problems require violent solutions, in the most poetic sense of that.

Again, lyrically, I am the man in the mirror. I exist as a misanthropic reflection of a society writ with selfishness. Loved ones are the only real things I have left.

"Plasticine" (secret track)

Though it is unlisted on anything official involving the record, the secret track is named "Plasticine." 

Lyrically, it follows the narrative of "Xeroxed Reflection" and tells the story from a different perspective. It's an obsession others have with becoming someone else, while experiencing a loss of identity.

This track could have been cut from the record entirely, but I think we all wanted people to be able to hear it.