Album Reviews

Hatchet – Dawn of the End Review

hatchet_dawnoftheend_cover

Released By: The End Records

Release Date: March 5, 2013

Genre: Thrash Metal

Links: http://www.facebook.com/hatchetofficial

 

Line Up:

Julz Ramos – Vocals/ Guitar

Clark Webb – Guitar

Travis Russey – Bass

Eli Lucas – Drums

 

Tracklist:

1. After The Dark

2. Silenced By Death

3. Screams Of The Night

4. Fall From Grace

5. Revelations Of Good And Evil

6. Signals Of Infection

7. Dawn of The End

8. Sinister Thoughts

9. Welcome To The Plague

10. Vanishing Point

 

As my tastes have evolved over the years,and I’ve opened myself up to more genres, I’ve found Thrash Metal to be one that can often entertain me, though it can also be a little hit and miss at times, so whenever I first hear a new album of that type, there’s just a bit of uncertainty. Such was the case when I initially started up “Dawn Of The End”, the sophomore release from Hatchet, whose debut “Awaiting Evil” is widely considered to be some impressive Bay Area Thrash Metal. This one comes five years later, and they’ve apparently gone through some lineup changes over the years, but I’m happy to report that they have certainly delivered again.

What you can expect from “Dawn Of The End” is the typically aggressive, uncompromising thrash sound you usually get from one of these Bay Area bands, though I’d say they’re much more technical than most, so they’re able to pull off some impressive feats that many of their fellow bands likely wouldn’t be able to match. The songs are generally very fast-paced, and the riffs are all pretty damn killer, much more impressive than anything on the recent Hatriot debut I reviewed recently, for example. The guitar solos are also way beyond what you’d typically expect from a Thrash Metal album. But for me none of this would matter if they weren’t able to pull it all together and find a way to separate themselves from the pack, which is where the songwriting comes in. On the surface, they don’t seem to do anything innovative, to the point where I originally thought the album was good but generic, but the more I listened the more I discovered new things, and I realized the songs are often structured in much more complex ways than usual, along with tons of tempo changes throughout, which help turn into something much more exciting.

The album begins with a pretty cool intro track in “After The Dark”, which is a very short and slow-paced instrumental that sets the tone for what’s to come, with some excellent riffs. They pick up the pace with the first real song “Silenced By Death”, which is one of the more straight-forward and speedy thrashers on the album, and it is highlighted by a a particularly awesome solo section in the middle. This song also introduces the new vocals, as their former singer has been replaced by guitarist Julz Ramos, who now fills both positions. I have to say, he does an excellent job, with the kind of aggressive scream type vocals you’d expect, and a very strong voice that sounds great and not at all irritating, which is a very important thing for a thrash band. Next is “Screams Of The Night”, which has a nice extended intro, before turning into a slightly slower but still fairly simple and explosive song, this time highlighted by a really cool slower section in the middle, where the vocals pick up the intensity, to go along with typically excellent guitar work.

Something unexpected happens next, and we get not only the highlight of the album, but possibly my favorite thrash song since late 2011 and Vektor’s amazing third album. Simply put, “Fall From Grace” is one damn impressive song, with everything from the awesomely complex stop and start rhythms of the verses, to the simple but really cool chorus. This is the song where they really show how good their musicianship is compared to other thrash bands, as the riffs here are very complex, and there are quite a few tempo changes, with one particularly impressive sequence coming towards the end with a passage that is far more melodic than anything else on the album. But if that’s not your kind of thing, don’t worry, because the band starts thrashing again shortly after that, and the song ends as awesomely as it begins. From start to finish this song is simply incredible, with far more surprises than many thrash albums have in their entirety, and it’s not even much longer than average for this album.

With a song that good, you’re better off not even trying to follow it up, and so it’s fitting that the next track is a very nice acoustic interlude, called “Revelations Of Good And Evil”, which serves as a breather between two highlights. Yep, while “Signals Of Infection” isn’t quite as good as “Fall From Grace”, it is probably the best of the speedier, more immediately satisfying thrashers, with some of the best riffs and vocal parts on the album, and with the verses being especially awesome. The title track is probably the slowest of the full length metal tracks, though it has a very nice rhythm to it and it’s still as strong in the riff department as most of the album. It also has some very nice melodic sections.

The final three tracks will all have a familiar feel by the time the listener reaches that point of the album, though that’s not to say they disappoint. “Sinister Thoughts” in particular feels like a slightly less complicated but still amazing version of “Fall From Grace”, while “Welcome To The Plague” is perhaps the least memorable song on the album, though it’s still very good. “Vanishing Point” is the fastest song on the album, and certainly one of the most intense. Out of the final three tracks, it’s definitely the strongest and most memorable.

With more advanced musicianship than most in their genre and some awesomely complex structure, along with other surprises, Hatchet have delivered a very memorable sophomore album in “Dawn Of The End”, and one that will likely be a contender for best Thrash Metal album of 2013. Highly recommended for fans of the genre, or even those like me who enjoy it from time to time but need something extra to stay excited.

 

Written by Travis

Ratings    Travis    9/10

 

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