Metal To Infinity

Finally! How long did it take until Heathen reunited and released this CD? It seems like centuries. And time after time there was a delay, making me frustrated reading that the release was postponed again…and again. But okay, last week this CD finally came into my hands and I didn’t stop listening to it ever since! To be honest I consider Heathen as one of the best Thrash Metal band on earth because of “Victims of deception” is, in my opinion, one the best melodic Thrash Metal CD ever written! It belongs in the same row as “Master of puppets”, “Unstoppable Force” (Agent Steel), “Forbidden evil” (Forbidden), “Doomsday for the deceiver” (Flotsam & Jetsam”)… Check my review at the MTI classics by the way! 

After “Victims Of Deception”  album, dated 1991, Heathen disbanded to return and bring out “Recovered”. We can’t consider it as a true come-back album because it was full of covers. Since their reunion, in 2001, I was fortuned to see the band several times on stage and their gig at the KIT X festival was godlike! Not only their studio performances are superb, Heathen is the perfect live band as well. Some of the songs on this new album we already know from their demo and allow me already to say this is the ultimate kind of Thrash Metal!  

What I always adored is the way those technical sharp riffs, overpowering arrangements, thrashing breaks and spectacular screaming or emotional played solos were mixed. Overall Heathen delivers ultra seducing refrains and choruses and front man David White owns the perfect voice for this kind of Metal. His strong clean voice is amazing! “Victims of deception” could have been the perfect follow-up for Metallica’s “Master Of Puppets”, only the vocals were far better! 

And here lies “The Evolution Of Chaos”, starting with an equal mighty intro as we know from the previous album. The front cover was already shown to the world before and for some reason I had the feeling this dark cover would fit the music perfectly. And yes, it does but I also admit it took more of my time to get into this CD. “Victims Of Deception” was, for a reason I still didn’t found out, easier to me. I realized I had to take time for this CD so I started listening to it in my car, at work and on my laptop by using a headphone. The relaxation behind my PC was necessary to receive the right click about this record and now I am totally into this album. I’m no clairvoyant but I presume this CD will end very high at my year list and I think lots of bands can hardly do better this year! 

Oh yes, the songs are again full of powerful surprises and the rhythms are once again perfect. Both guitarists are playing the ultimate game of Heavy Metal and Lee Altus might be considered as one of my favorite guitar players. To be honest I prefer his work in Heathen above Exodus! Talking about Exodus Gary Holt is a guest musician on this one. I’ve read Gary Holt was enthusiast about this album as well, he’d better be!  

It’s very hard to name the best songs; “Dying Season”, “No stone unturned” (oh yes, Metallica’s spirit of “Master Of Puppets” can be found back right her!), “Arrows Of Agony”, Red Tears Of Disgrace” are all awesome! The only song I have difficulties with is the epic “A hero’s welcome”.  For some reason it doesn’t fit the concept of Heathen and it could be a song Jon Shaffer wants for his newest Iced Earth album. Don’t get me wrong; I have always been a big fan of Iced Earth but they’ve lost me a few albums ago because of this ‘Manowar’ kind of songs about American heroes… 

I prefer the aggressive and yet melodic Heathen because it is this kind of mixture that makes them a perfect band to me! On the other side Heathen isn’t scared to show their softer side, no coincidence that the “Heathen’s song” on their previous album is one of my all time favorite semi-ballads. Also on this album you can hear such sounds! “Fade Away” shows why Lee Altus is a member of Exodus, the riffs and the aggression could fit perfect at every Exodus album although the song is far more melodic than Exodus could ever deliver!  

Was it worth waiting all these years? God damn yes, it was! You don’t hear me say this newbie is better than “Victims of deception” but it is one of the best Thrash Metal records I’ve heard in the last few years. It proves that the old bands are still able to deliver more quality than the new generation of Thrash Metal bands. I can only say “A Hero’s Welcome” was an unnecessary song and however how hard I’ve tried I feel obliged to take a few points away from the ending score because of it. Nevertheless this album is a ‘must have’ for every Metal fan! Let’s hope the definitive breakthrough for Heathen will start from this point; these guys deserve it. Their European tour is postponed but they will come, be sure of it! I can only hope they will come to Belgium at one or another big crowded true Metal festival! 

My Points : 93 / 100 (Review by Officer Nice)