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Album Review: Heathen – Empire Of The Blind

Un-prolific Bay Area thrashers Heathen prove less is more on fourth album in four decades, Empire Of The Blind

In fairness, Heathen were split for most of the ’90s, but still, even after their reunion in 2001 it took them the Bay Area thrash veterans the better part of a decade to make a third album (2009’s The Evolution Of Chaos), and 11 more to reach their fourth. And yes, in fairness, guitarists Kragen Lum and Lee Altus were busy touring in Exodus. But when something as ripping as Empire Of The Blind comes along, you just think: “Why the hell did you sit on this for so long?”

Empire Of The Blind is an album that absolutely rips. Heathen’s skill in raising a thrash ruckus is expert level, having been there doing this stuff back in the ’80s, and simply knowing what’s going to take your face off at 50 paces. If productivity has been slow, this is certainly not, rushing at you with full-speed, gung-ho, get-the-fuck-out-the-way-or-get-squashed gumption, and a magnetic spontaneity that makes everything sound as urgent as a man on fire looking for a garden hose. A thoroughly modern lyrical bent – the ills of social media, government hoodwinking and corruption, the rising threat of extinction – also provides a twitching, tense anger to proceedings.

Heathen may not be winners in the thrash race – either through being slow and steady, nor fast and wild – but here they prove what a wrecking ball they are whenever they do fire up their engines. Good things come to those who wait. Even if that wait tends to be longer than many bands’ entire careers.

Verdict: 4/5

For Fans Of: Exodus, Slayer, Testament

Empire Of The Blind is out now via Nuclear Blast.

READ THIS: The 25 greatest thrash albums ever

Posted on September 21st 2020, 2:14pm
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