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Victims of Deception part 2 - 90%

nzjonnydeath, January 10th, 2010

Nearly 20 years after Victims of Deception and about 5 years with a couple of the demo tracks floating around Heathen have finally released their new album and it is killer.

When I first heard Victims I thought 'this is what And Justice For All would sound like if it had shorter catchier songs', this album is just an extension of that logic, this is what Death Magnetic should have sounded like. Crunchy guitars, kick drums are spot on, not to clicky like alot of modern productions, David Godfrey sounds excellent, if you liked his singing on Victims, you'll love it here, he still has the range, but the gravelly thrash vocals have improved with age, not sounding forced at all (which at times they did on Victims). Bass is audible, and in the mellow spots shows some variation, but you won't notice it at all when lead work is happening, lead has a killer tone, and we all know Lee Altus can play.

Dying Season and Arrows of Agony which were the demo tracks that Heathen had avaiilable for download sound practically the same except for better production (it's been awhile, but as I remember them they are unchanged) both are uptempo numbers, catchy in the thrashy way. In fact, the entire album is uptempo and catchy, with the exception of the power ballads, A Hero's Welcome and Red Tears of Disgrace. The former I don't really like, but the lead work at the end is good, Red Tears I like however, it's heavier and the acoustic work I like.

No Stone Unturned deserves it's own paragraph because it is that good (and 11 minutes long). This is the epic track in the vein of Heathen's Song, except far better (and Heathen's Song is awesome). This initially is just a stomping chugger, but it has a few trick up it's sleeve. For a start the chugging is pretty good, then we have the ultra melodic chorus, back to the chugging, back to the chorus, and epic dual lead bridge, followed by some solos, a chucky return to progression from the bridge, and then it's over....

And a mellow acoustic interlude cranks up (with some bass noises), the electrics crank back up and chug the interlude riff, a lead and then THRASH! What follows is an intense build up with double time rhythm and awesome lead work, climax coming with the chorus one more time, seemingly more melodic than any previous chorus (yeah the song is that awesome it got 2 paragraphs).

Anyone who likes melodic thrash should pick this up, it shits on new Exodus, it's catchier than new Testament, its what new Metallica should have sounded like, it doesn't top Endgame though (even though Endgame doesn't have anything quite as awesome as No Stone Unturned) and I'm not going to mention Slayer's latest effort. Good to see some of the 80's thrashers can still write decent songs.