Released By: Massacre Records
Release Date: January 25, 2013
Genre: Thrash Metal
Steve “Zetro” Souza – Vocals
Kosta V. – Guitars
Miguel Esparza – Guitars
Cody Souza – Bass
Nick Souza – Drums
1. Suicide Run
2. Weapons Of Class Destruction
3. Murder American Style
4. Blood Stained Wings
5. The Violent Time Of My Dark Passenger
7. And Your Children To Be Damned
8. Mechanics Of Annihilation
9. Shadows Of The Buried
10. Heroes Of Origin
In the world of thrash there are certain people who, whenever you see them starting up a new project, you’re immediately forced to pay attention and see what will come of it. One such person is Steve “Zetro” Souza, and while I had actually never listened to anything with him until 2011, I had certainly heard a lot about him being one of the greatest singers in the genre. And he certainly is, with probably his most notable work being with Exodus. I must say, though, and I hope I don’t get murdered for this: While I think Zetro’s vocals are much better technically, I’ve always enjoyed the Rob Dukes albums more, as I find them to be more inventive and more daring, while still keeping the core elements intact. So while I was certainly interested in seeing how his new band Hatriot would turn out, I admit to being less excited than many thrash fans. With “Heroes Of Origin” now in stores, many are already celebrating their hero and the “glorious return to his roots”, but for me it ended up being another case of good, but not the greatest.
Now, back in 2011 I was recommended by a friend to try Zetro’s last album with Exodus, the widely praised “Tempo Of The Damned”,which I believe the name of this band is a reference to (in the opener “Scar Spangled Banner”, he sings “I’m no patriot, just a hatriot). Well, I was certainly impressed by that particular song and a couple others that followed closely, but by the midway point I started to find myself bored and not really getting the hype. I was always left to wonder why I couldn’t get into that album, since I did think Souza sounded fantastic, and I typically love modern Exodus, but for some reason that one album just didn’t click with me for the most part. I obviously can’t blame Souza, but now after hearing this album I’m left more confused than ever.
Anyway, as far as what to expect from “Heroes Of Origin”, it really is quite obvious. Which is to say, it’s pretty much a “Tempo Of The Damned 2”, with a guitar sound that is strikingly similar to Exodus, though I think it might be a bit faster-paced overall. The riffs are mostly quite awesome, the solos are fantastic, and it’s definitely as pure a thrash album as you’ll find. Fans who want nothing more than what I just described will be more than satisfied, but for me this feels a little too stale and predictable, with no real positive surprises of any sort. Even as far as the genre goes, this is fairly simple and straight-forward, and the only thing making it stand out even a bit is the level of talent involved.
Speaking of which, Zetro sounds like he never left Exodus, as he is in top form the whole way rhrough, and shows quite a wide variety to his singing compared to most thrash vocalists. He’s always reminded me of a more aggressive, more sinister version of Overkill’s Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth, while also excelling at a more controlled take on the type of extreme thrash vocals someone like Dukes has since made his own, and he shows both of those styles and more on this album. In fact, even on the less interesting songs I still enjoy listening to how awesome and varied the vocals are. So again, fans will be very pleased.
The first half is where most of the highlights come. Opening track “Suicide Run” has a pretty cool intro before turning into a typical thrash opener with intense riffs that will certainly have you headbanging, like all great thrash should. “Weapons” Of Class Destruction” and “Murder American Style” are as fast and fun as old-school thrash gets, while on “Blood Stained Wings” we get some truly epic high pitched screams towards the end, which turn a solid song into a much more memorable one. Though my favorite song is the slow, but brutal “The Violent Time Of My Dark Passenger”, which still has the occasional burst of speed, but it’s mostly more complex and more gritty. Other songs have the occasional tempo changes, but that song uses them to the best effect, plus the chorus is easily the best. And the highlights end with the simply insane “Globacidal”, which is by far the heaviest and most explosive song on the album, though as you’d expect, Zetro is the highlight as one part towards the end has him repeating the same line three times, with the first time being relatively calm, the second time a bit rougher, and the third time is him at his absolute craziest and most awesome, with by far the most over the top vocals on the album.
After that song, I lose interest. At first I was hoping it was either just a total fluke, or that I was simply too tired to enjoy anymore music at that time, but after hearing the album five times it became obvious I was always getting the same result. I don’t know what it is with “And Your Children Be Damned”, but by the middle of that song I just don’t care about headbanging anymore, and instead I find myself struggling not to lose focus, and often failing. “Mechanics Of Annihilation” is pretty good, but I think it falls short of anything on the first half. They did attempt something different on “Shadows Of The Buried”, but between an absolutely awful chorus and a really weak second half, it just doesn’t work for me. Last is the title track, and to me the riffs feel very lazy and uninspired, so even when I tried listening to it separate from anything else so I wouldn’t be fatigued from the previous three songs, I still got bored within a minute.
Honestly, I can say whatever I want, be as truthful about my experiences as I can, but that won’t stop fans from being excited, nor should it. I don’t know what it is with me not being totally impressed by either album I’ve heard with Zetro so far, but it sure can’t be his vocals. Either way, with “Heroes Of Origin” he plays it as safe as a veteran of the genre can when starting a new project, so fans of his work with Exodus and fans of pure, old-school thrash in general are strongly recommended to check this out, because it is a very well made album, and it does have everything you’d expect. For me, I do like what I’m hearing for the most part, but I guess I just need my thrash to do something a bit more surprising for me to be fully impressed.
Written by Travis
Ratings Travis 7/10