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From Exodus to Tenet and all over again, Steve "Zetro" Souza has been one of the busiest vocalists in all of thrash metal. For quite a while now the man has been working on the Hatriot concept (based after a line in the Exodus number "Scar-Spangled Banner"), searching for strong potential bandmates. As myself and others watched eagerly for months on Facebook as the band's progress developed, the anticipation in the air grew strong. It became stronger yet when the album's release date was announced and soon we'd have our grubby little claws on the newest masterpiece from one of my favorite vocalists in thrash. Is "Heroes of Origin", Hatriot's first full album, a masterpiece? No, not at all, but it's still a solid enough and entertaining thrash monster overall.
Zetro and his group of rag-tag thrashers are a varied group of boys new to the scene, hungry to tear shit up. Kosta Varvatakis and Miguel Esperza make a nice, mean guitar duo capable of truly ferocious thrashing riff attacks and mix it up with a number of more technical and even surprisingly melodic moments. The relatively non-existent bass work is handled by one of Zetro's sons, Nick, while his other hellspawn Cody takes of drumming duties, and man can this kid fucking rock it! His double bass is just pulverizing and his timing is unholy in its perfection, though I think his kick-drumming might be programmed as fuck. And what of Zetro himself? Uh...fucking awesome as always. Like I said the man's always been one of my favorite thrash vocalists and on "Heroes of Origin" his efforts are as bloodthirsty as ever. Seriously, does this guy only get better with age?! All of his nasally shrieks, screams and atom-splitting yelling is in top form and he gives 100% throughout "Heroes of Origin".
My main gripe with this album is that the songs themselves don't stick they way they should. It's basically just thrashing for thrash's sake and sometimes the band gets lost in themselves. The result: unmemorable songs. And while it'll take some time for some of these numbers to sink in, you'll still be banging your head as if up from the dead quite nicely. Some highlights? The opener, "Suicide Run", is a solid cooker to start things off, armed with a chorus that'll be sure to get everyone in the room's respective horns on the air. The heavily guitar-oriented "Mechanics of Annihilation" presents loads of gnarly licks and hooks that kept my toe taping and my head banding. The crunchy "Globicidal" starts out menacing and mid-paced before charging at your unready mortal ears with unrelenting double bass jackhammering and a memorable, nasty chorus. "Blood Stained Wings" shreds away with some nice riffs and a killer solo with semi-melodic power metal overtones. How about "And Your Children To Be Damned"? There's a live favorite in the future right there...
Overall, despite the praise I delivered to some of the songs individually, the tracks on "Heroes of Origin" really warrant more than a few listens to let everything really sink. It's one of those deals where the whole is lesser than the sum of its parts. Even still despite the "so-so" feel of many of these numbers, one can't deny that the energy of Zetro and these bad boys is palpable, and I for one do hope for stronger future endeavors. Hatriot is here, showing that thrash metal is still as American as baseball, apple pie, and 70-year old republicans sitting around in a large, stuffy room all day holding onto their half-baked beliefs.