"The New Age of Terror" (Mausoleum; 2004)

Reviewed by Mike SOS

Emanating from the same scene that spawned Slayer, Testament and Exodus, veteran metal troupe Hirax have been through quite a bit in the band's career, yet "The New Age of Terror" finds the quintet in fine headbanging form.

The 11-track old school sojourn has all of the blistering solos, pure metallic vocals, and bone-crushing rhythms you'd expect from a band that started back in the infant stages of the thrash metal movement, but without sounding overblown or cheesy like so many comebacks do. Instead, tracks like "El Diablo Negro" and "The New Age of Terror" may date the band a bit, but finds Hirax in the kind of fighting shape that makes you proud to wear your denim jacket and delightfully bang your head.

For more information, check out http://www.hirax.org.

"Barrage of Noise" (Deep Six Records; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Hirax had quite a history for an underground band until they faded from existence some time ago. When well-planned and, I think, brilliant public relations-minded rumors began to surface that the band was planning on a reunion, it was only a matter of time before the new Hirax album saw the light of day. That day is here now and the question is: Did Hirax live up to the hype?

"Barrage of Noise," the aforementioned new Hirax CD, is a nearly perfect underground, thrash metal recording. With guitars racing along at a blistering pace, bass thudding along like an out-of-control locomotive, drums that sound more like a continuous earthquake than individual beats of the same instrument and vocals that scream out like the proverbial metal banshee, Hirax play solid thrash unapologetically. Either you like their balls-out, kick-ass sound or you buy another Air Supply CD.

Interestingly enough, the CDs biggest downside isn't ... well, isn't really a downside. The production on "Barrage of Noise" is just rusty enough to give the band the independent/self-produced rawness that is necessary to add even more edge to their music. Had some slick producer come along, he probably would have ruined this record. Hirax needs to be raw and rough-edged and "Barrage of Noise" is just that.

But don't just take my word for it, check out the band's website at http://www.hirax.org and download some sounds for yourself. 

Hirax: Katon W. DePena - vocals; Justin Lent - electric and 12 string acoustic guitars/bass; James Joseph Hubler - electric and 6 string classical guitars; Nick Seelinger - drums.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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