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Heathen - 'The Evolution Of Chaos'

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


Heathen - The Evolution Of Chaos

Heathen - The Evolution Of Chaos

Mascot Records
A lot of the newest generation of thrash fans, and even many members of the new wave of thrash metal bands weren't even born or were very young the last time Heathen released an album. The Bay Area thrashers formed back in 1984, released a couple of albums, then disbanded in the early '90s before reforming a decade later. One of the band's founders was current Exodus guitarist Lee Altus, and he's obviously been busy with that band recently, which is one of the reasons it's taken a few years for The Evolution Of Chaos to be recorded.
Heathen takes it back to the old school with The Evolution Of Chaos, but also has a few new tricks up their sleeve. Altus and Kragen Lum use all the weapons in their guitar arsenal, from thick riffs to shredding solos. The songs on the album are long, leaving plenty of room for extended instrumental sections that showcase the band's musicianship.

After a Middle Eastern tinged intro, Heathen kicks into thrash mode with “Dying Season.” David White is the band's vocalist, and in addition to the thrash style speaking vocals, is also able to croon melodically, which adds a NWOBHM vibe to some of the songs. “No Stone Unturned” is an epic 11 minute long track, with a really long instrumental section in the middle before the vocals resume near the end.

“Fade Away” is a standout, galloping along with a great groove and memorable riffs. “A Hero's Welcome” is an eclectic song that starts out acoustically before the electric guitars fire up. Things back off again with a spoken word section, and then there are a couple more ebbs and flows. “Red Tears Of Disgrace” begins like a power ballad with a catchy chorus, but then morphs into an all out thrasher.

At 70 minutes, Evolution Of Chaos feels a bit long, although when it's been nearly 20 years between releases I can understand why they would have a lot of material ready. Old school thrashers certainly remember Heathen from back in the day, but their return will garner them a whole new generation of fans.

(released February 16, 2010 on Mascot Records)

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