Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2020
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

The evolution is gradual, the chaos is not. - 84%

hells_unicorn, June 3rd, 2011

Thrash metal tends to be a lot like mainstream American politics. While you generally have a more complex situation than the media advertized two-party system, most bands fall into the category of being either liberal or conservative. The analogy can be a bit tenuous at times, but there is a good case to be made that particularly with the resurgence of old school thrash in the past 7 or 8 years that the once progressive concept of modernity in thrash metal is receiving an old guard challenge. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of this is how the original pioneers of the style are choosing to sound, seeing the likes of Death Angel, Megadeth and Overkill keeping up a more traditional sound, while Machine Head and Metallica are playing with the latest flavor of the month. Heathen could be qualified as among the more predictable of the former category, yet have found an intricate way of communicating their older style through a newer template.

Speaking purely from musical content, “The Evolution Of Chaos” isn’t really all that much of a far cry from “Victims Of Deception”, at least no more so than “Killbox 13” and “Ironbound” are from “Horrorscope”. The same massive collection of riffs, occasional references to Iron Maiden in melodic instrumental breaks, and the tendency towards long and drawn out songwriting is all but identical to the band’s early 90s classic. The break with the past comes primarily through the production job, which has that raucously loud, heavy on the drums and slightly heavier on the guitars approach to mixing that actually gets to be a bit much at times. Similarly, David White’s vocal interpretation is a good deal more gritty and rough, almost to the point of occasionally sounding like Phil Anselmo circa “Cowboys From Hell” or early 90s era James Hetfield, which seems to be more the trend among thrash revival bands nowadays. He still gets up there at times, but the proto-speed/thrash character in the image of Joey Belladonna heard on “Breaking The Silence” is noticeably absent.

For the most part, by modern thrash standards, this is a pretty conservative offering that seems almost as heavily influenced by pre-thrash heavy metal and even a few hard rock outfits that were prominent in the lead up to the NWOBHM era as it is by the iron fisted gauntlet of the Bay Area. Right from the mysterious, sitar drenched prelude simply dubbed “Intro” there is a strong helping of classic Rainbow influences (think “Gates Of Babylon”) that segues right into a glorious fury of earth shaking riff work in “Dying Season”. Similar exercises in skull bludgeoning brilliance with an emphasis on speed and anger include “Bloodkult” and “Silent Nothingness”, which are all among the most pure and orthodox versions of thrash metal to be found on here. But even when veering into half-ballad territory such as in “Red Tears Of Disgrace”, the aggression is still consistently present, though in a somewhat slower package.

There isn’t really anything on here to speak of that is categorically bad, but unlike in the case of “Victims Of Deception”, a few mixed bags emerge from a slight sense of overambitious songwriting. The worst offender in this department is “A Hero’s Welcome”, which largely goes back to some of those experimental ballad ideas that Metallica was playing with on their middle era releases. Unfortunately the song is repetitive and more of a straight up metal ballad without any sense of triumph, like an ambitious reinterpretation of a military funeral march with a slightly longer length. “No Stone Unturned” somehow manages to get away with throwing in a groove riff that sounds almost hypnotic enough to have been heard on “Far Beyond Driven”, and somehow manages to wander through a intricate barrage of mid-tempo riffs before suddenly exploding into a melodic instrumental fest that sounds dangerously similar to Maiden’s “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. Not a bad song per say, but needlessly long and suffering from just a few too many ideas being thrown together.

For a band that has been gone from the scene for the better part of 18 years, this is about as impressive of a comeback album that I’ve seen since Rainbow’s “Stranger In Us All”. It is about as close to the old days of the 80s as it can get without actually being an overt attempt at reliving the past (aka Fueled By Fire, Skull Hammer and a few others). But more than anything else, it’s one of the better reasons why anyone who ever tells you that thrash is dead needs a good ass kicking, not to mention a way to do it with a nice bit of intelligence for a more precise infliction of damage.