The New Age of Terror

2004 meant the return of legendary thrash bands, most notably, bands like Exodus and Death Angel, whose albums and returns were given a great amount of media exposure. This of course took some space away from the ‘smaller acts’. Reformed back in the beginning of the new millennium, Hirax have returned to grace the music world once again with The New Age of Terror. Hirax, who?

Indeed. I’m a young fellow. When Hirax rocked the thrash grounds, I was still getting high on milk and learning about morals and ethics from Optimus Prime. By the time I got interested in heavy metal, Hirax had already disbanded and acts like Sepultura, Anthrax and Suicidal Tendencies had played within a 20 minute walk of my house without me giving two shits about it. Damn you, childhood! Damn you to hell!

Luckily, the saying “better late than never” is true as I’m quite pleased with fixing at least some of the errors of my youth. You live and you learn. When I first listened to Thew New Age of Terror I brushed it away. Don’t know why, don’t know how but it all sounded like a bunch of wind chimes to me. Guess I was having the male version of PMS. Lucky for me, I decided to give the band another shot and after the first couple of songs I had already been knocked out twice. I don’t know what happened to the CD during the time away from the player, but the whole thing just felt completely different. Guess the time wasn’t right the first time around.

Simply, Hirax equals pure Bay Area thrash metal: pounding, fast, dirty. And after repeated listens, I must say The New Age of Terror blows both Exodus and Death Angel away. The band delivers a great ass kicking while singer Katon W. DePena shrieks words of war, death and destruction. Just the topics you expect to hear from bands like these. Sure, with an album title like that, you could interpret some of the songs as modern age critique, but that’s how it’s been with thrash metal always. Whether one goes down that “politically aware” road or not, the fact remains that DePena and the band gets to shout out cool words like “destruction” in unison. And that’s all that matters as there’s plenty of moshing and headbanging to be done while waking your neighbors with tormented screams. In between the thrashing, we’re also treated with a nice instrumental track that gives you a couple of minutes to breath and rest while your hunger for the last two tracks rises. It’s almost like being in a concert, knowing that the end of the show is near but that there’s at least a couple of more tour de forces to come.

Hirax has also been able to avoid a couple of the pitfalls that plague certain releases today. The production, while being clear, isn’t clinical. You get to hear all the instruments but the image of green hospital walls is nowhere to be found. Excellent. Also, the album’s structure is almost perfect. It knows when to stop. 11 cuts in 37 minutes, not 11 cuts in 58 minutes. Not once does the album drag; it keeps its integrity to the end.

What more is there to say? The New Age of Terror is an extremely pleasing album with plenty of old school vibe. Why try and fit the music to “modern age” boundaries, when there wasn’t anything wrong with in the first place? Due to my inexperience, I can’t compare this with the band’s previous efforts, but for those Testament fans out there, check this one out. You won’t be disappointed while you wait for a new cut from Chuck & Co. Rock on, Hirax!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mikko K.
April 2nd, 2005


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