Awaiting Evil

Viva la thrash revival! Here’s the Bay Area’s own Hatchet with their debut full length, Awaiting Evil, a real barn stormer filled front to back with face melting riffs, leads, solos and quite possibly my favorite vocalist I’ve heard yet from the movement in Marcus Kirchen. His delivery isn’t entirely unique or distinctive, but he’s got a venomous, gritty, mid-pitch clean style (meaning not growled, grunted or screamed) that’s largely decipherable, but packs a filthy punch. Also, he throws in several slightly off key highs for punctuation. For the life of me, I cannot figure out how or why Metal Blade signed Fueled by Fire before Hatchet, as these guys simply blow FBF (and pretty much all the rest) out of the water.

Things kick off with the two minute instrumental intro “Darkening Skies” which really shows the style, skills and flavor of one of the newest shred kings on the block, Julz Ramos. Seriously, this guy has got some chops – it’s as if his arsenal is comprised of all the best Exodus, Metallica and Testament riffs that never got used, and he’s put his own little stamp on them. No doubt the band leader, he’s got music writing credits on every track, a couple of them solo and even a good chunk of the lyrics (which aren’t bad even if a bit cliché) are credited to him. That intro track is the only respite given before diving into a relentless thrash assault that starts with “Frailty of the Flesh” and doesn’t end until the self titled album closing monster. There’s really no point in breaking them down track by track, as the killer riffs, leads and solo’s pop up frequently and the tempo pretty much stays breakneck. That’s not to say everything sounds the same though – each track has its own quirks that makes it identifiable and stand on its own.

One of my favorite aspects of the album though is the length – 43 minutes over 9 tracks (including the intro) – just the way a thrash album should be – get in, punch the lights out and get out.

Normally I won’t talk about an albums production unless it’s really good or really bad, but I must say Awaiting Evil is just about perfect. It really captures the 80’s thrash feel, but it’s cleaned up and cleared up to where everything is on par with the others. Hell, even the bass of Dan Voigt is audible all the way through which gives the songs that little extra punch.

I must sound like a giddy little school girl every time I review on of these young thrash bands – Hatchet may not be the absolute fastest or meanest or technical or heaviest of the crop, but damn it, they do right through and through, and that’s all you really need. Just get this – now – and get thrashed!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
July 17th, 2008


  1. Commented by: swampthang

    good band good tunes. anyways LSO you gotta review the new Gama Bomb and Bonded by Blood cause they are sweet.

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