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The New Age of Terror - EP

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Album Review

For whatever reason, the long discography of SoCal thrashers Hirax is heavy on singles and EPs, but light on full-lengths. Of these, The New Age of Terror is perhaps the band's strongest work. "Band" is perhaps an overstatement, as singer Katon DePena is the only remaining original member, with an endlessly revolving door of bandmates. Whatever motley crew he assembled here delivered, and then some. The record's vitality is even more amazing considering that it was Hirax' first full-length after a decade-plus hiatus. Never mind that much of it recalls Slayer and early Metallica ("El Dia de Los Muertos" also bears an eerie resemblance to Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan") — Slayer and Metallica don't sound half as authentic now. Quality runs throughout with nary a clunker. Opener "Kill Switch" races out of the gates like a long-lost Slayer track; "Suffer" has similarly sinuous dissonance and thundering tempos. The performances are tight and energetic. DePena's vocals are some of his most memorable; the vocal patterns on the title track are unmistakably his. His mid-range caterwaul is an acquired taste, but is rightfully considered a thrash institution. Powerful, heavy production completes one of the best thrash metal records made since the genre's heyday. [Thrash Corner's 2008 edition included a bonus DVD.]


Formed: 1984 in Buena Park, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '00s

Buena Park, CA's Hirax formed in 1984 and achieved only moderate success during the original outbreak of thrash in the 1980s, yet their cult following has grown exponentially in the years since, to the point where they are now frequently cited among the genre's important -- and unique -- early contributors. Led by charismatic frontman Katon W. DePena, Hirax's lineup was completed by guitarist Scott Owen, bassist Gary Monardo, and drummer John Tabares when they were signed by Metal Blade and issued...
Full bio
The New Age of Terror - EP, Hirax
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Rock, Music, Metal
  • Released: Jul 20, 2004

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