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Short but sweet - 86%

Mungo, February 17th, 2007

Despite being shorter than many EPs, Hirax's second full length is still full to the brim with some great thrash. While some people complain about the sixteen minute length, I rather like it, as it means the album is over before it gets boring, and it doesn't take too long to listen to the whole thing back to back.

The first song, 'Hate, Fear and Power' is the shortest song on here, clocking in at a mere 40 seconds. At the start there is some nice shredding before the vocals come in over a hardcore sounding riff. Only about half of it is actual music, as the last half consists of some random squeaky noises. Next up is 'Blind Faith', which has a slow intro before it speeds up into pretty damn fast thrash riff, with some soloing scattered throughout the song. The break is pure genius with another excellent riff, and leads into great soloing. 'Unholy Sacrifice' is similar to the previous song, although quite a bit faster and it has some better riffing. 'Thunder Lightning' starts off with a midpaced intro until it speeds up with Katon's high pitched vocals over the top. The song is slower than the previous, but still damn good. The longest song on here, 'The Last War', is still only two and a half minutes in length. It slows the tempo down to a moderate pace, and some sections seem 'jumpy'. The chorus is quite catchy as well. 'The Plague speeds things up with an effective verse riff which slows down in the chorus. The soloing in this song is top notch, and the thrash break that follows is great to headbang to. 'Imprisoned by Ignorance' starts off rather averagely at a slow (well, compared to the rest of the stuff on this album) pace before speeding up with some awesome riffing. The last track on the album, 'Criminal Punishment', starts off with a drum intro and evolves into another great thrash song which pretty much puts everything that was great about the previous songs into it.

The production is a bit better than on 'Raging Violence', as the guitar sound is a lot thicker. It has the raw sound which I like to see in thrash albums, although occasionally it would be better if it were just a bit clearer. Katon once again provides the high pitched vocals he is known for, and his voice is unlike any other vocalist in the thrash genre. The guitarist, Scott Owen, does some short but sweet soloing and pumps out great riffs. Eric Brecht's drumming is spot on, with lots of excellent double bass work and precise fills, while the bass is not really noticeable.

Hirax's second release is an excellent, fast thrash release with similarities to hardcore. If you're a fan of the crossover genre or just thrash in general, this comes highly recommended, and will not disappoint.