Hirax – “Immortal Legacy” (Steamhammer / SPV)
Unbelievable – over 3 decades on and Katon De Pena is still raging in the underground like he did back in the 80s when I remember him as a tape trader. If there ever was a metaller then this guy is it, not only fronting a thrash band that remain true to their roots but also living the life of a metaller all these years later. Countless members may have gone thru the Hirax ranks but it doesn’t matter cos you can be sure that whoever’s playing in Katon’s band will be doing it his way! Five years on from “El Rostro de la Muerte” and we have “Immortal Legacy”, an album truly befitting it’s title as a salutation to the underground scene, containing 14 songs with guitarists Jim Durkin (Dark Angel), Juan Garcia (Agent Steel/Evildead) and Rocky George (Suicidal Tendencies/Fishbone) guesting on an album produced by legendary Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Armored Saint, W.A.S.P., Sacred Reich), who worked with Hirax back in the early 80s, and this time round has given the band an even bigger sound to match their screaming ferocity! That said, the band too have come a long way adding more technicality into songs like ‘Earthshaker’ and ‘The World Will Burn’ that whilst remaining true to thrash, also use varying tempo speeds but still sit comfortably alongside screaming blitzkriegers like ‘Hellion Rising’ – complete with air raid siren just like back in the old days! With cult artist Philip Lawvere – the man behind the covers of Kreator’s “Pleasure To Kill” and Celtic Frost’s “Emperor’s Return” coming out of retirement to do his first oil painting in 25 years, “Immortal Legacy” is not just an album that takes you back to the dawn of thrash of early Exodus, Metallica and Sodom, but actually sounds like that whole era brilliantly encapsulated saluting thrashers one and all. Like I said – unbelievable!