Sunday, April 6, 2014

Hatriot - Dawn of the New Centurion

Every metal head should know Steve "Zetro" Sousa who was the vocalist who put Exodus on the map back in the 80s. Who can forget his screaming vocals from "Toxic Waltz?" I actually saw him in Exodus back in '89 with Antrax and Helloween. Although I wasn't the biggest fan of Exodus, I always admired their aggression and ability to play textbook thrash. So let's fast forward to 2014 and here we have the second album by Hatriot, a band put together by Zetro that also contains his two sons, Cody on bass and Nick on the drums. Now some call this retro-thrash but how can you call this retro when the driving force behind this band was actually there "back in the day?" This is thrash and thrash done right!

It appears that Sousa's politics are showing on the opener "My Cold Dead Hands" using the infamous speech by actor/former NRA president Charlton Heston as the song's intro. Politics aside, this is angry fuckin' thrash. The riffs are monstrous and ballsy. The guitar work is worthy of much praise as the youngsters that Sousa recruited to play in his band are definitely a nod to the old school. The solos are actually done with technical brilliance as well as class to bring a touch of melody to this thrash metal onslaught. Sousa's vocals sound like '89 all over again. He hasn't lost a thing in his vocals, which is amazing since he sings with so much aggression while sounding like he's gargling on broken glass. This is a great way to open a thrash album, fast, angry and aggressive...and he ends the album the same way with the closer "Consolation for the Insane." And whoever pissed him off on "Your Worst Enemy" better watch his ass because Zetro is PISSED on this song and that makes for some killer thrash! This is another riff fest that forces you at gun point to bang your head. Once again, the solos are done so well.

Obviously growing up with Steve "Zetro" Sousa as your dad you already know what thrash metal is but it is also apparent that the remainder of youngsters that Sousa has found really know what true thrash metal is. As I said before, this is not retro anything, this is the real deal. Sousa's former band mates should take note here because this blows away anything Exodus has done recently. The musicianship of this band is to be commended as they are tight and everything is perfectly timed. The production is meaty and has HUGE balls, as thrash should be. Not every song is fast and furious but that takes nothing away from the aggression and the music itself. "Honor the Rise and Fall" is a mid paced thrasher that is not all speed and fury but kicks your teeth in nonetheless. More amazing guitar work and the Sousa brother's rhythm section is just perfect. Then there is "Superkillafragsadisticactsaresoatrocious"...what the fuck is that? However, this is another angry thrash song that is probably the weakest song on the album but is still just crushing even if the title is a bit odd. 

As with most trash songs, the lyrical content is very political and songs like "Silence in the House of the Lord" which touches on the topic of pedophile priests only make for good angry thrash. Steve is angry on this song as well and his vocals let you know he's pissed off. The riffs are crushing and the solos are simply amazing. This is a longer song, as is "The Fear Within" and the title track, all clocking in just over seven minutes. But given that the songs are so well written they do not become stale. They are epic thrash if there ever was such an animal, especially the title track. Once again, Sousa's vocals shine here. As long as he's been in (and out of) the game you would have thought he would have lost some of the youth in his voice but not here. He is in top form sounding like he did back in the 80s. He's here to kick your ass...plain and simple. The title track may be my favorite on the album. The song is just crushing and the solos are fucking godly.

So there may be a retro-thrash movement going on out there but this band isn't part of that. These boys were taught what thrash truly is by someone who was instrumental in the movement in it's heyday. I actually thought the first album was just a fluke and that they couldn't continue like this but now I believe that this band is in it for real and will continue to kick my ass for years to come. I'm excited to hear what comes next.


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