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Empire Of The Blind

   
       
       
       
     
             
Heathen are a thrash metal band from the USA formed in 1984, releasing their debut album 'Breaking The Silence' in 1987, and their sophomore album 'Victims Of Deception' in 1991. Dogged by line-up changes and band unrest, Heathen disbanded in 1993, with the various band members going separate ways. In 2001, the band reformed for the Thrash Of The Titans tour, a benefit concert for Chuck Billy (Testament) and Chuck Schuldiner (Death) who were both battling cancer at the time. For Heathen, the tour was a huge success, and the band decided to carry on, eventually releasing album number three, 'Evolution Of Chaos' in 2010. Line up changes continued to be an issue for the band, but with determination from founding member Lee Altus, Heathen released their fourth album 'Empire Of The Blind' in 2020.    
             
Over the last couple of years, old school thrash metal has seen a resurgence in its popularity, with some of the best albums released by bands that read like a who's who of the eighties thrash metal scene. Such iconic bands as Artillery, Metal Church, Flotsam And Jetsam, Overkill, Exumer, Death Angel, Destruction, Acid Reign, Exhorder, Anonymus, Poltergeist, Assassin, Testament and Onslaught - fucking hell what a line up... And the old school thrash resurgence doesn't stop there, with Heathen now joining the line up with their latest album 'Empire Of The Blind'. Heathen, like all the aforementioned bands, came to prominence during the eighties - all of them instrumental in creating the sound of thrash metal...    
             
...a sound that has stood the test of time, ignoring changes in trend and fashion. Most of the lyrical content on 'Empire Of The Blind' deals with social topics, such as "how politicians use the masses as pawns" ('The Gods Divide') and "how we are the plague that is destroying the Earth" ('The Blight')...    
             
..."yea, yea, yea" I hear you all screech, "but what about the metal"...    
             
...let me tell you about the metal...it's fucking superb. Twelve songs packed into forty seven ferocious minutes, gets underway with the highly atmospheric and tension building intro 'This Rotting Sphere', before all hell breaks loose with the fast and furious 'The Blight'. Into its stride very quickly, the pace is aggressive, the head bang ability is off the scale, and Heathen have returned with lethal vengeance. Title song 'Empire Of The Blind' takes off faster and more aggressive than the opener, slowing to a menacing and moody foot stomp, adopting the melodic thrash metal sound. And after just two songs, 'Empire Of The Blind' (the album) is shaping up to be a cracker. The mid tempo, highly thunderous style of thrash takes front and centre with 'Dead And Gone', ploughing a very deep furrow as it carves a path of devastation across fields and valleys, and countries, and the world as a whole. Heathen are sending shockwaves across - and through - the Earth, forcing themselves into contention for Album Of The Year.    
             
With a short Van Halen sounding riff, 'Sun In My Hand' opens in blazing hard rock fashion, quickly adopting a very heavy thrashy stomp, blitzing entire cities with extreme prejudice. The wearing of protective equipment, the likes that bomb disposal experts wear, is highly advised, for the savage barrage Heathen dish out with 'Sun In My Hand', is gonna hurt, big time! If you end up with broken bones, don't come crying to me, I gave you fair warning... Scorching pace returns in full flight with 'Blood To Be Let' - a fast and ferocious head banger that will blow your fucking socks off. This is exactly how thrash metal should sound, Heathen delivering a copious amount to excite the senses, making the heart beat faster. And in the mighty shape of 'In Black', you have a raucous riff monster. Led by a bloody savage riff, 'In Black' is gonna set light to mosh pits everywhere, creating manic walls of death, that are gonna be so brutal that free passes to A&E are gonna be made readily available.    
             
The intensity of 'Empire Of The Blind' (the album) hasn't let up since it began, with a full on barrage of savagery taking over the airwaves. But with 'Shrine Of Apathy', the intensity is quelled somewhat, with a much mellower approach, moving to hard rock territory, even possibly soft rock! But sewn in among all the mellow meanderings, there are still enough thrash metal roots to keep the thrashers of the world happy. And it also allows you a few minutes to catch your breath, ready for the albums raging run in - beginning with the devastating 'Devour'. Hitting hard and kicking harder, 'Devour' serves up a GBH style bashing, leaving you severely bruised and battered. Where's that A&E free pass? Devastating pace rises to the surface with a vengeance, as (the instrumental) 'A Fine Red Mist' steam rollers its way forward with an unrelenting attitude. Boy there's gonna be a lot of flattened fans out there. And that guitar solo, wow! And the pace turns lightning quick, as the feisty 'The Gods Divide' storms forth with ferocious intent. The fastest song on the album, 'The Gods Divide' has been worth waiting for - it's a neck breaker in terms of head banging ferocity, and a glorious way to bring the album to a close.    
             
Overall, a glorious stampede of feisty and ferocious thrash metal from a legendary name in the world of thrash - Heathen.    
             
             
Review By Iron Mathew Collins    
             
Reviewed For Metal Gods TV    
             
             
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