Album: Misleading Evil
Label: World War Now Records
Genre: Thrash, baby!
Release Date: 22 September, 2017
Thrash is probably my favorite form of metal, followed by Doom and Black, but unlike the other two, Thrash tends more to be a style that is pretty much static and dead, mostly a throwback to the past. If we get new Thrash, it’s usually either straight up retro and (mostly) dumb, with bands singing about drinking beer and smoking weed (I was 15 once, I get it, but now that shit bores the hell out of me), or it’s some kind of hybrid, mixing Thrash with Black or Death or whatnot. Very rarely do we get a new band that actually kicks ass, has fun, and isn’t some tongue-in-cheek variation of buds and bongs galore.
We have a new champion with this release by Hazzerd.
Hailing from Canada, these guys play gutsy, heavy, fast, and melodic. Lots of sweet solos, lots of riffs, a great vocalist who kills it on every song, and old-style, straight up drumming, all combine to give this band the same kick that made the Big Four what they were back in the day. Is this as good as the old, original stuff? No, but it comes damned close.
Opener “Tendencies of a Madman” is pretty straightforward, nothing that will shake you out of your shoes, but it does set the table, and when the melodic twin guitars kick-start second song “Absolute Destruction,” you get the idea that this band is good, really good. And then the riffs come crunching down and those gritty, Death Angel style vocals let loose…This is the real deal, people. These guys get it. And they dish it out, repeatedly kicking ass through the whole album.
“Execution of the Damned” is a straight up thrilling rocker that gallops along with thunder at its side and swirling guitar licks guiding the way. This simply levels the ground before it, unrelenting and powerful. And fast. Dig those awesome solos.
“Misleading Evil” may be my favorite track on the record, but it’s hard for me to say that because it’s an instrumental, and I cannot stress how awesome the vocals are on the entire record. This one has a lot of movement, starting out pretty and melodic, setting the stage with drama and flair. These guys can play, man, their harmonic leads just as good as anything I’ve ever heard before. About 1:30 the rocking starts up, the band bringing the rumble and tumble, the drums thumping and trashy, the riffs just moving. We get at least two minutes of rocking before the song drops down into an acoustic passage, peppered with drums and heavy riffs to keep it real. And then the build-up begins again, the song moving and swaying and lifting, lifting. All the way up until the double bass starts and then the song pauses, hesitates, and blasts right back off, soaring into the sky. Varied, melodic, heavy, this is all things in one song.
“The Fallen” has a stuttering riff that demands you bang your head, straight out of the gate. It eventually settles into that wallop that these guys are so good at delivering. Straight and to the point, with some tasty solos.
“Under the Influence” has some of that Kill ‘em All rawness of early Metallica and boy does it fly forward. This is their “drinking song,” I suppose, and it’s great.
“Apocalypse Dawn” has a fantastic opening, that bass just bringing it before the song drops into a martial beat. And then the heads start banging as the singer hits those epic high notes (think Manowar) and you just have to smile because you know these guys are for real, delivering the goods song after song.
Closer “Road to Nowhere” is the second-longest track and opens with a lone guitar melody that would sound right at home on …And Justice For All, tone-wise and playing style. It’s a nice reference point for a fine, fine song that manages to incorporate a lot of what came before, standing as a tasty summary of where the album has gone, all the while taking the band ripping into some new sounds. Again, killer bass.
What can be said about this excellent debut album? If you like Thrash, get this, pronto. Probably the best Thrash album released over the last couple years, and yes, I know how that sounds, given that all of the Big Four have released records during that time period. This belongs right up there with them and will sit side-by-side proudly with the best of the genre. If this doesn’t get your head banging, nothing will.
1. The Tendencies of a Madman
2. Absolute Destruction
3. Execution of the Damned
4. Misleading Evil
5. The Fallen
6. Under the Influence
7. Apocalypse Dawn
8. Road to Nowhere
Total Playing Time: 41:58