THE DEMO CORNER
Powered by Death is one of the bands that has crossed me email of late that initially worried me. Whenever a band calls itself thrash now I immediately wonder if it’s going to be another Toxic Holocaust or some trivial nu-thrash upstart vying for a spot in our coveted area. Imagine my surprise to hear some truly deadly riffs and raspy vocals spitting out venom in a wonderfully dated fashion.
I will admit that initially the mix of the vocals in “Retribution” threw me off; it seemed they were too polished in the mix for a lower register, but I got over it quickly when I got into that pounding riff and soaring solos that screams Sacred Reich and even some early Slayer (“The Ignorant Generation” speaks this) mixed generously with some late 80’s crossover for measure. This is about as ugly and raw as thrash metal can get; the shrill mix of the guitar tone and the basic-yet-patterned drumming work well in the overall schematic, making for a very heavy experience. “The Ignorant Generation” is every bit this old man’s thrash that I grew up receiving in tape trades that otherwise got lost in the shuffle with a chorus right out of “Surf Nicaragua” without completely tipping over the scales.
Powered by Death creates a fresh scent for another wise mildewed era that is more nostalgic fodder than vibrant showcase these days. There are some good headbanging moments interspersed throughout the demo, which even has the obligatory “mosh” song in “Hit the Surface” that will no doubt initiate small clubs to begin rampant stamping and slamming with no regard for safety and style - and that is what thrash metal is all about. That band is tight overall, with just enough free play to allow breathing room between mammoth power chords.
So, is this demo about to set the new generation on fire with its blazing brand of toxic waltzing fir for the aging Exodus crowd? Probably not; but what you will experience here is a raw peek into the formation and honing of a band that is smart enough to know that the past is always alive and should be respected and coveted at every turn. For an old-school thrash experience check out these guys.
Hatriot & Powered by Death
July 22, 2012
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Hatriot - Demo 2011
Steve Souza, once the lead vocalist for Bay Area bashers Exodus and pre-Testament Legacy, shows that his razor-voice is still a viable instrument with his latest thrash metal foray, Hatriot. With a combination of old-school thrash and some modern influential devices just new enough to appease the latecomers, the demo is one for every era of the medium.
Souza has long been one of the champions of the movement; who among us from the good ol’ days doesn’t fondly recall nursing bruises and limping for days after hearing “The Toxic Waltz” back in the day? I honestly don’t think my right shoulder has ever truly recovered from the Aragon Ballroom during that MTV Headbanger’s Ball tour of ’89, but I digress. Hatriot espouses some potent thrashing within the span of four songs that showcase the years of influence Souza brings to the table. All that was once mighty within that 80’s movement out west has been summarily captured and cultivated nicely for a rabid and stylistically-famished public. The musicianship on the demo is pretty top-notch, with some slick guitar work and vital soloing that any aging ‘head will certainly dig. The drumming is particularly impressive, with some pinpoint double bass going on that compliments the tone of the entire demo without deviating from the map. The fact that it is mixed nicely helps tremendously as well. Without drenching the music in triviality or expected patterns, Hatriot produces four songs that are along a similar design, yet differ nicely so as to amplify the band’s mission to a discernible degree. In a bargain-basin era of nu-thrash and deathcore running rampant like a case of the Clap through the movement, seeing the old guard step up and attempt to educate the youngin’s is a positive mission.
There is certainly some Bay Area thrash prevalent throughout the sound; how could there not be? That said there is a definitive ‘culture bias’ when it comes to this style of thrash. Yes, San Francisco thrash differs greatly from New York thrashing; The East Coast seems to employ a thicker, more causal tonal quality to the music where the Baysters seem more steeped in punk-meets-metal for the faster, looser sound. This would certainly call out the latter in terms of that tone, but soldiers in both camps can find some wondrous merit in the first Hatriot demo. The leads here are amazing, especially in “”The Mechanics of Annihilation”, which is everything the 80’s was built on and then some. The opening scales of “The Fear Within” are also enough to force a smile as you ceremoniously bob your head to that enveloping line.
If you want a blast of the ancient ways that has yet to die, ingest Hatriot in one sitting.
Powered by Death - Plug it In
Release Date: 2012
Label: Band Self Released
1. Retribution 2. The Ignorant Generation 3. Hit the Surface 4. The Crown - Total playing time: 14:11
DOWNLOAD a copy of Plug it In via the band's facebook page (click on link above).
Release Date: 2011
Label: Band Self Released
1. Fear Within 2. Weapons of Class Destruction 3. Globacidal 4. The Mechanics of Annihilation
- Total playing time: 19:55
DOWNLOAD a copy of Demo 2011 via the band's facebook page (click on link above).
Immensite, In Cold Blood & ZOM