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Excellent Debut Album - 87%

Mungo, February 17th, 2007

Hirax's first album is half an hour of kickass thrash, and although it can get repetitive I find that it is among some of the better releases of 1985. While not reaching the level of 'Bonded by Blood' or 'Hell Awaits', this is still pretty damn good and fast as fuck. I tend to prefer this album just a bit more than the follow up, as it has more songs on it and there's slightly better riffing present, hence I gave it one more point than 'Hate, Fear and Power'.

Most of the riffs on here have a prominent hardcore influence to them, although it is not as noticeable as on their later works. The guitar work is damn fast, and the songs are probably among the fastest stuff released in 1985. A good example of this is the song 'Bombs of Death', with it's main riff sounding almost like a blur due to it's tempo. While there are some midpaced moments such as the first half of 'Demon's Forces', this is pretty much fast and heavy the whole time. The soloing is also pretty damn good, and while not featuring as heavily as I would like it the guitarist obviously has a lot of talent. The songwriting is great, with the songs ending just before they become boring or too repetitive.

The performances all round are excellent. There is a great chemistry when these guys play together, and they all sound energetic and like they're giving it their best. The vocalist, Katon W. DePena, is known to have a unique voice that is unlike any other out there in the thrash genre, and he certainly doesn't disappoint here. He pulls off the vocal lines flawlessly, and does some amazing falsettos. Scott Owen, as you may have gathered by now, does some great soloing and pumps out some excellent thrash riffs all played at a very fast speed. John Tabares features on drums, and while not being as good as his replacement for 'Hate, Fear and Power' would be, he still provides a good performance that is far above average. As for the bass, it is a bit hard to hear due to the production, but it is average for the most part.

Although some dislike the production, I like the raw sound that they also exhibited on their following release. While being far from crystal clear, each instrument (except the bass) is heard well enough. The guitar riffs can all be heard well enough, and the drums are at the perfect level of audibility, that being not so loud that they drown out the instruments or too quiet so it is hard to make out. The vocals are pulled forward, which can either be a good or bad thing depending on whether or not you like Katon's unique style of singing. I for one quite like them, so it's a positive for me.

As for highlights is difficult to choose. 'Demon's Forces' is one of them, starting off with that now infamous intro of the priest trying to convert someone after some screaming of going down to the demons. After the intro an effective midpaced riff comes in for about a minute, before it speeds up into a thrash attack with excellent, fast riffing. The vocal lines are damn catchy, and although it is hard to sing along to them considering the pitch of Katon's voice, they stick in your head for a long time. 'Bombs of Death' is another, featuring fast as fuck riffing that almost turns into a blur as it is played at an extremely fast tempo. There's an effective thrash break about halfway through with a simple yet effective riff taking over.

In conclusion, 'Raging Violence' is, as said before, among the better releases of 1985. It's chock full of fast riffing, an over the top vocal performance and some great drumming. Like their other albums, this record is highly recommended to anyone into thrash, speed or just metal in general, as it contains enough of the aforementioned elements to make a great thrash album.