Other than Metallica, I wasn’t really that much into the Bay Area thrash of the late ’80s, preferring the European likes of Sabbat, Xentrix and Kreator and the more extreme sounds of Slayer. As the genre has made a denim clad comeback, albeit now somewhat over saturated, I’m slightly surprised that Arizona’s Hemoptysis hasn’t garnered more attention (or a record deal for that matter), seeing as they are the only band in this retro-movement that I’ve actually come to enjoy.
Continuing the sound of their 2009 self-released EP, the new classically named new album, Misanthropic Slaughter (and its classic cover), may have more appeal to me due to the slightly leaner, meaner edge that has a touch of the Teutonic thrash scene but with a more modern, almost melodic death metal edge here and there. The vocals of Masaki Murashita— who sounds like Kreator’s Mille—has a lot to do with it too. Throw in some solid songwriting, and you have an album that’s skirting the retro thrash movement without forcing it and still having some appeal to modern metal.
Balancing finely between classic thrash and the more modern crossover bands like Trivium (minus the singing) and 3 Inches of Blood, Hemoptysis, isn’t completely reliant on denim patch vests, nostalgia, songs about partying and booze or skin tight jeans to carry their sound. Instead, they prefer actual songwriting that contains shredding melodic solos and catchy, tight riffing to convey their distinct blend of old and new. Just listen to the opening title track as well as the controlled seeth of “MOD”, classically paced “Impending Doom”, rounded first single “Shadow of Death” and epic, synth-tinged duo of “Blood Storm” and superb closing semi-ballad “End of Sorrow” for a headbanging, mullet growing, white high top sneaker wearing good time. All of it played with a supreme confidence and delivered with a suitably old school but polished crunch, that again doesn’t seem forced or overly retro just for the sake of the current trend.
The fact that Hemoptysis has managed to entertain me, despite playing a genre I’m not nuts about is a testament to the band’s skill and passion as well songwriting ability. As a result they should be considered one of the most promising unsigned acts to surface in quite some time.[Visit the band's website]