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December 23, 2009: The day the world shit itself - 99%

MalikArcanum, June 10th, 2010

I was lucky enough to be the first person in North America to have this album, receiving it on Christmas from Lee Altus himself, so I’ve had a little longer to ruminate on it than most. Overall, I’d have to say this is the best Thrash album of the last decade, even though it came out in the 00’s twilight hours.

The album starts off with Dying Season, after a lengthy Sitar intro. Most Heathen fans know this song from then excellent 2005 Demo, where it was lauded to be the best Thrash song since the glory days. I must say, this song is incredible, with it’s Middle-Eastern touches, but it seems to have lost a little of it’s magic during the transition from demo to album. Next, you have Control By Chaos, a straight forward thrasher. Nothing too remarkable about it. After that comes the epic No Stone Unturned. I feel this song is very good, but slightly overstays it’s welcome, lasting 11 minutes.

On the demo, I couldn’t believe how much David White’s vocals had improved. On Breaking The Silence & Victims Of Deception Dave was decent, but he was definitely the weak link in the band. His Power Metal screams sometimes grating with the Progressive Thrash sound of the rest of the band, but on the 2005 Demo, his voice had matured greatly, gaining a slightly gravelly tone, while still being able to hit the high notes. However, on the album, his upper range seems to have slightly deteriorated in the previous 5 years, & he now seems to be going for a Hetfield-esque growl. But, I’m nitpicking. Heathen’s core sound has remained remarkably intact over the 2 decades since their last album. Overall, the only recent balls-out Thrash albums capable of competing with this are Slayer’s World Painted Blood, & Overkill’s Ironbound, & this album thoroughly trumps them both. Lee Altus, the main driving force of the band, is a riff/solo machine, capable of creating progressive, lick filled riffs that are still incredibly catchy.

Next you have the Thrashers Arrows Of Agony & Fade Away. Once again, as with Control By Chaos, nothing really sticks out for me. Not saying they are bad tracks, not at all. They just lack a certain spark some of the others have. Next we have A Hero’s Welcome. Dave’s vocals are great, but other than that, I’d say this is the worst track on the album. Next up, Undone. Straight up thrasher with some killer riffs here & there. Now, we come to the last 3 tracks of the album, & this is where the album really begins to shine. Bloodkult is one of the fastest songs on the album, & gets right down to business. No long, windy intros here. Next up, Red Tears Of Disgrace. Long intro, then it morphs into a mid-paced chugger. It‘s one of those songs where the riff makes you want to punch someone in the face. Finally, we have the absolute highlight of the album, Silent Nothingness. I’d say this song is Heathen’s equivalent to Damage Inc, starting kinda slow, then exploding, all guns blazing, into an all-out Thrash attack. Epic song, but I think the demo version is slightly better.

Overall, this album has a few spots where it lags a little bit, but when it’s on, it’s ON! Even if the album was entirely made up of tracks like the ones I’m not as fond of would still get a 80-85 rating, This album is one of the 4 best post-1990 thrash albums I’ve ever heard, as well as Paradox’s Riot Squad, Kreator‘s Violent Revolution, & Exodus‘ Exhibit B: The Human Condition. Any thrash fan should pick this up, it’s well worth the 20 year wait!