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State of Insurgency

HeXeN

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Album Review

In case you're wondering, the cover art for State of Insurgency — Hexen's sophomore album and first for Old School Metal Records — was indeed illustrated by legendary artist Ed Repka, renowned for his creations for a slew of classic albums by the likes of Megadeth, Nuclear Assault, and many more, over 20 years earlier. Now that we've gotten that little trivia question out of the way, is there any lingering doubt as to what specific kind of heavy metal this Los Angeles-based quartet performs? Yes, thrash, but not just thrash (see "Gas Chamber," "Bedlam Walls," and "No More Color," for that), but a balanced mixture of thrash and mid-paced traditional '80s metal (best exemplified by "Past Life" and the title track), akin to such bands as Omen, Hallows Eve, and Helstar. Unfortunately, Hexen vocalist/bassist Andre Hartoonian winds up shattering the complete illusion of trad metal authenticity with his coarse, unmusical, albeit still effective delivery (clean singing was a virtual must for these sorts of bands 20 years before), but there's little else wrong, instrumentally speaking, with standouts in this vein like "Blast Radius" and "Chaos Aggressor." State of Insurgency also benefits from consistently stupendous guitar solos from axemen Ronny Dorian and James Lopez (see "The Serpent" and "Mutiny and Betrayal" for prime examples), who also really let their hair down on the sublime instrumental showcase "Desolate Horizons," also featuring acoustic guitar from drummer Carlos Cruz. Wrap all of the above with strong songwriting throughout, and Hexen appear to have a leg up on most of the less versatile retro-thrash bands that have transformed the late '00s into a confusing game of wack-a-mosh.

Biography

Genre: Metal

Years Active:

One of two new millennium heavy metal bands going by the name of Hexen, this Los Angeles-based quartet (the other hails from New Jersey) was formed in 2003, and quickly established a backwards-looking agenda aimed at revitalizing the classic sounds of '80s metal and thrash with their self-released debut album, Heal a Million...Kill a Million, in 2005. But it turned out that Hexen were slightly ahead of the fashion curve, and were forced to spend the next few years working on their demos and performing...
Full bio
State of Insurgency, HeXeN
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  • 8,99 €
  • Genres: Rock, Music
  • Released: 05 August 2008
  • Parental Advisory

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