Tuesday, 11 March 2014
Album Review; Hirax - Immortal Legacy
1. Black Smoke
2. Hellion Rising
3. Victims Of The Dead
4. Thunder Roar, The Conquest, La Boca De La Bestia - The Mouth of the Beast
6. Tied To The Gallows Pole
8. Immortal Legacy
9. S.O.W. (Intro)
10. Violence Of Action
11. Atlantis (Journey Of Atlantis)
12. The World Will Burn
An often overlooked band from the 80's Thrash Metal days, Hirax have now released their fifth full-length studio album. The band, fronted by Katon W. De Pena, were one of the earlier bands to combine Thrash with more of a Hardcore Punk edge. They've got a pretty good back catalogue of fast, short, simplistic songs. Katon's vocal was the greater talking point of the band, due to his unique tone. This is a band with some solid albums to it's name.
'Immortal Legacy' may see De Pena's band step out into the higher ranks of modern Thrash Metal. Right from the off, 'Black Smoke' delivers a great riff and solo, all before the brilliant frontman even hits his first note. The speed and grit is still there, but this is already more concise music than what's come before it. Katon's voice is on great form. Always one of the more melodic singers in the Thrash scene. If you like your Thrash vocalists to sound like Rob Dukes or Chuck Billy then the way Katon uses his voice may be odd to you sometimes, but he can wail with the best of them and his high screams are effective and well utilised.
Through 'Hellion Rising' and 'Victims Of The Dead', there are more sharp riffs and the chorus in the latter shows how catchy Hirax can make their music. Great, well structured drum beats and more great guitar solos, courtesy of Lance Harrison, help keep the album charging forward. The dual-guitar harmony at the start of 'Thunder Roar, The Conquest, La Boca De La Bestia - The Mouth of the Beast' (A nice, easy to remember title!) is a nice treat. The song has enough faster points and mosh-pit ready material to keep any Thrasher happy. Jorge Iacobellis' drumming at several points in the whole album are at a furious and satisfying high pace.
'Earthshaker' provides a brief intermission with a decent guitar instrumental before 'Tied To The Gallows Pole' provides the catchiest chorus so far, with Katon's lyrics being delivered in time and tune with an equally punchy riff. His voice is better on this album than I've heard it before. The production job done by Bill Metoyer shows the best in this band. The album sounds big without completely abandoning the old-school Thrash aesthetic, something that the long-time Hirax fans will be grateful for, I'm sure.
The album only stays at a high quality, with 'Deceiver' giving Katon's voice a good workout. Some of the riffs start to sound a bit standard in places, but as soon as that starts to effect how much I enjoy the album, a new riff comes in to make me bang my head. The title track starts off furiously, with one of the more venomous riffs on the record, backed up by turbo-speed drumming and another melodic guitar line for good measure. Katon's high vocals make a triumphant appearance here, showing the man still has it.
After a good intro, 'Violence Of Action' keeps the furious pace up. Hirax have always been a very pure Thrash band. There's no awkward balladry to be found or uncomfortable moments of progression. You know what you're getting with a Hirax record, so it's the quality of the individual album that must shine through, and 'Immortal Legacy' shines as bright as Hirax ever have. 'The World Will Burn' closes this album with a tour de force clocking in at just over two minutes, with a very headbang ready riff underlining Katon's great vocal delivery. In true Thrash Metal fashion, this album ends leaving you wanting to listen to it again. Hirax have delivered an album here that can easily stand alongside the recent releases of many other Thrash bands.