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Riffing your face off - 73%

autothrall, September 8th, 2011

Arizona thrash metal. It's been with us from nearly the beginning, when acts like Flotsam & Jetsam, Sacred Reich and Atrophy were primed to hit the stratosphere, all more or less fading out as the genre's appeal abated from the masses (though several did enjoy and are still enjoying substantial careers). Then a little band with the name of Vektor came along and stirred up the pot with an intense and attractive fusion of technical death/thrash, and lo the masses were under their wings. In fact, I can't think of many other bands quite so viral right now, and they've ushered in an entire new wave of fans to the style (most pleasantly ignorant of the tech thrash masterworks out of Europe and the States in the 80s). Now, another group of stalwarts ready and able to wield the banner of the Tempe scene: Hemoptysis.

To be clear, Misanthropic Slaughter is not quite equivocal to Black Future in terms of its overall aesthetic and quality. Where Vektor projects itself through dystopian landscapes and the vast void of the extraterrestrial, Hemoptysis seems to long for endless siege and warfare at varied (but generally fast) paces. Misanthropic Slaughter is not quite so clinical, voracious and elegant as that other Arizona band's breakthrough, but it's still adequately explosive and energetic, and it understands the importance of incorporating strong riffing structures. The snarled vocals do remind me somewhat of Vektor's David Disanto lower register (sans the shrieking), but then they also remind me at times of brutal 80s frontmen like Schmier, Mille Petrozza and even a dash of Sabbat's Martin Walkyier. But the best thing going for this band is their unchecked ability to deliver riff after goddamn riff, plenty of variation, and good leads that very often mix up highly melodic ingredients that border on power metal.

Take a song like "Hopeless", which is strong all around, first at a mid-paced speed/thrash metal execution, and then rising and falling into a well written bridge with clean guitars, and a snaking, extensive solo sequence never short on thrills. Or "Blood Storm", which runs neck in neck with the better melodic death metal of the mid-90s (In Flames, Dark Tranquillity) and so forth while qualifying currents of groove and subtle strings of synthesizer atmosphere, with another approachable lead. In fact, let me get this out of the way: just about every instance of Ryan Miller and Masaki Murashita noodling off on this album is carefully plotted and compelling. So rarely do bands seem to spend time constructing their solos, and even if these aren't on the level of the Megadeth and Metallica classics of the 80s, in which every note would ingratiate itself to the listener's conscience, it's a damn good quality to have among a swollen crowd of generally worthless shredders in most of the other modern thrash acts.

Misanthropic Slaughter is sleek and versatile with very few faults. I can tell the Arizonans put a lot of effort into their writing, and it shows here. The production is as clean as you could expect. Gripes are minor: the vocals, while pretty hair raising at their best, do tend towards monotony and could use a greater assertion of vitriol. The cover art, titles and lyrical themes all seem a bit too typical for the genre. "Impending Doom"? "And the World Dies"? "Hopeless"? "Shadow of Death"? Nothing really stands out there. I can only imagine how much stronger the band would be with something more imaginative or unique fueling the strident muscle of their guitar chops. Also, a few of the songs seem far more entertaining than others, like "The Cycle" which just rips out at the listener in vicious, thrashing purity. In general, though, they are quite consistent, exciting, and the fact that they don't rest on the laurels of beer-addled retro stupidity in the actual composition is a huge plus. If you're seeking more grounded alternatives to modern tech speedsters like Vektor or Sweden's Immaculate, then you'll want to hear this.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Very impressive! - 80%

Roswell47, June 9th, 2011

Today the world is filled with tons of horrible self-released albums. In recent years, the world has also become filled with an unnecessary amount of "thrash revival" bands. So, it would stand to reason that the last thing we need is a fifty minute self-released CD from another "new" group of thrashers. But when it comes to Arizona's Hemoptysis, that assumption couldn't be more wrong.

On it's debut full-length, Misanthropic Slaughter, Hemoptysis (which means to cough up blood by the way) blends classic thrash riffing with a contemporary touch for an invigorating take on the thrash genre. The band isn't reinventing the wheel on Misanthropic Slaughter, but they are helping usher it into the modern age. Hemoptysis' riffs are generally of the classic thrash variety, yet each flow into the next without feeling predictable. The vocals add a modern feel to the proceedings with a blackened death growl similar to Arsis or Arch Enemy, while the guitar leads recall the classic solos of the eighties. The solos are equally powerful, memorable, melodic, and face-melting. The drums strike a balance between the old and new with a contemporary production job that still manages to keep them from sounding too stiff or fake. The style of drumming itself is quite varied. The drums are just as likely to pummel you with contemporary double bass as they are to pound away in a more customary thrash style.

Misanthropic Slaughter starts strong with it's first three tracks. The title track kicks the album off with catchy, varied riffs and a hummable solo section. "Hopeless" follows with some nice tempo changes and excellent guitar work that keep me coming back for more. "M.O.D." is the third consecutive kick in the balls with great riffing and solos that are some of most smokin' on the album. Misanthropic Slaughter loses a little steam in the middle with some good, but not great tracks that just don't match the standard set by the first three songs. Not to worry, things pick up again beginning with "The Cycle" and stay pretty solid through the end of the album. In fact, the last three songs match the album's opening tracks in quality...especially the epic "Shadow of Death" with its amazing solos, stuttering drums, and In Flames-before-they-started-to-suck harmony riffs.

I can count the number of new thrash bands that I am truly impressed with on one hand. After hearing Hemoptysis' Misanthropic Slaughter, I'm one finger closer to having to start counting on the other hand. This album is easily one of the best self-released CDs I have ever heard. Why aren't these guys signed already? The band is obviously ambitious. It has a decent website and a street team. Its album was produced by Ryan Greene (Megadeth, NOFX, Lagwagon, and pretty much everything else on Fat Wreck Chords.) The band even has a professional quality music video for "Shadow of Death." Hemoptysis seems like it is ready to conquer the thrash genre and beyond. As long as the band continues making music like Misanthropic Slaughter, I will be cheering them on.

Originally written for http://www.metalpsalter.com

Very enjoyable modern meets retro thrash - 81%

Lustmord56, February 23rd, 2011

Review Originally published at http://www.teethofthedivine.com by Erik Thomas



Other than Metallica, I wasn’t really that much into the Bay Area thrash of the late ’80s, preferring the European likes of Sabbat, Xentrix and Kreator and the more extreme sounds of Slayer. As the genre has made a denim clad comeback, albeit now somewhat over saturated, I’m slightly surprised that Arizona’s Hemoptysis hasn’t garnered more attention (or a record deal for that matter), seeing as they are the only band in this retro-movement that I’ve actually come to enjoy.


Continuing the sound of their 2009 self-released EP, the new classically named new album, Misanthropic Slaughter (and its classic cover), may have more appeal to me due to the slightly leaner, meaner edge that has a touch of the Teutonic thrash scene but with a more modern, almost melodic death metal edge here and there. The vocals of Masaki Murashita— who sounds like Kreator’s Mille—has a lot to do with it too. Throw in some solid songwriting, and you have an album that’s skirting the retro thrash movement without forcing it and still having some appeal to modern metal.


Balancing finely between classic thrash and the more modern crossover bands like Trivium (minus the singing) and 3 Inches of Blood, Hemoptysis, isn’t completely reliant on denim patch vests, nostalgia, songs about partying and booze or skin tight jeans to carry their sound. Instead, they prefer actual songwriting that contains shredding melodic solos and catchy, tight riffing to convey their distinct blend of old and new. Just listen to the opening title track as well as the controlled seeth of “MOD”, classically paced “Impending Doom”, rounded first single “Shadow of Death” and epic, synth-tinged duo of “Blood Storm” and superb closing semi-ballad “End of Sorrow” for a headbanging, mullet growing, white high top sneaker wearing good time. All of it played with a supreme confidence and delivered with a suitably old school but polished crunch, that again doesn’t seem forced or overly retro just for the sake of the current trend.


The fact that Hemoptysis has managed to entertain me, despite playing a genre I’m not nuts about is a testament to the band’s skill and passion as well songwriting ability. As a result they should be considered one of the most promising unsigned acts to surface in quite some time.