HIRAX – IMMORTAL LEGACY
RELEASED: MARCH 4th, 2014
When I was given this Hirax album, I couldn’t figure out why I had never heard of them. I mean, they’ve been around since the early 80s, in the dawn of California thrash metal; though a few hours from San Francisco, the main birth area of thrash. They’ve known and played with some of the best known thrash metal bands in existence. They were friends with some of them, even recorded and released albums at the same time as them. Then I realized exactly why I hadn’t heard of Hirax: they’ve never really been anything super special.
Metallica had their mix of super fast melodies and classic doom metal all mixed in one, Slayer had their sheer thrash and nothing but thrash sound that never let up, Anthrax had the speed and precision of the previously mentioned thrash legends and included a singer in Joey Belladonna who was more familiar to the ways of singing at the time with his hair metal-esque vocals. Then there are other thrash bands that hold a place in metal fans hearts like the somewhat progressive and more complex Testament and the angry demonic Exodus. The problem is, listening to Hirax, they never had any sort of characteristic to really make them stand out above the underground status that they could only sort of hold on to until their eventual break-up in the late 80’s.
The band eventually reunited with its original line-up, but now the band is now led by sole founding member Katon De Pena, the bands vocalist. The band recently released their fifth full length album Immortal Legacy, an album that leaves me unimpressed. Upon hearing first track Black Smoke, I was ready to doubt my reluctance; I mean it starts off with nice fast thrash licks, a rather un-special guitar riff and a singing voice that, while lacks talent, is definitely listenable. Even the way Hellion Rising begins showed some promise, with an actual great sounding guitar riff, and singing that has a little more meat to it.
This momentum doesn’t seem to last, however, as by the third track Victims of the Dead and its following track Thunder Roar, The Conquest, La Boca de la Bestia – The Mouth of the Beast belt out the same practical nonsense with some shining moments. For instance, the vocals on the former track aren’t quite half bad, and the intro to the latter of the two songs is actually pretty good. Then there are three instrumental tracks scattered throughout the album; Earth Shaker, S.O.W. (Intro) and Atlantis (Journey to Atlantis). I’m not sure of the purpose these instrumentals serve, as most are just short riffs that don’t even last a minute. The latter of the three is a bass instrumental, which is unique, but nothing special.
While there are still tracks that are somewhat worth pointing out, such as Tied to the Gallows Pole for being kind of catchy, but the absolute lowest moment on the album is the title track Immortal Legacy. At this point, I don’t see how the band can seriously be trying to make an album that gives them credibility. I actually think they just made this album for the hell of it. The entire title track is sung in the same note; an almost five-minute song where all of its singing is sung on the same note is practically unlistenable, I mean if he were screaming the lyrics in a guttural fashion, then maybe I’d take this song as being serious, but it just can’t be.
I don’t like giving bad reviews, frankly, so I’ll give the band the benefit of the doubt. They aren’t trying to make an album for the ages, and absolutely nobody will think that this album is one of them. This is merely for the lump of fans that they have, and God bless them, because those fans sure must love the band. They don’t care about reviews and what people say, as I assume, so with that mentality I feel less bad about my words. The album is a thrash album through and through, that’s undeniable, but as mentioned, there is just nothing special to it. Nothing.
“Tied To the Gallows Pole” – I really don’t think there is even one highlight, but I have never written a review without including a highlight, so I picked the track that I actually see significance in. It has a good intro, and it’s as thrashy as the album gets, but I think it makes the highlight because its chorus is actually somewhat memorable and the song sort of stands out from the rest of the album.
5 (Out of 10)
- “Black Smoke” – 4:35
- “Hellion Rising” – 4:05
- “Victims of the Dead” – 3:07
- “Thunder Roar, The Conquest, La Boca de la Bestia (The Mouth of the Beast)” – 4:54
- “Earthshaker” – 0:44
- “Tied to the Gallows Pole” – 4:05
- “Deceiver” – 3:42
- “Immortal Legacy” – 4:40
- “S.O.W.” – 0:57
- “Violence of Action” – 3:36
- “Atlantis (Journey to Atlantis) – 1:30
- “The World Will Burn – 2:07
Reviewed by Phil of Rock Review Phil