Empire of the Blind
Nuclear Blast Records
FFO: Megadeth, Forbidden, Artillery, Overkill, Flostam & Jetsam, Toxik
Who would have thought that a band that has been going as long as Heathen would only have three studio albums? But this year has the Bay Area thrashers returning with their first offering in a decade with their fourth studio album ‘Empire of the Blind’.
Heathen delivered great things with ‘The Evolution of Chaos’ back in 2010, so the pressure was on for Heathen to release an album of their usual exceptionally high standards and of course, ‘Empire…’ does not disappoint. This album takes the baton from the previous album and therefore, as expected, these albums are musically and stylistically very similar; Heathen have once again delivered high quality thrashing riffs which lean strongly upon technicality and virtuoso musicianship and because of this, you won’t find your bog-standard ‘bang your head’ run of the mill thrash here, this is the thinking person’s thrash.
There are some hard-hitting lyrics here and vocalist David R. White spits out venomous words that are highly flammable with the band incensed as the chaos from the current world climate spills over into ‘Empire…’ with incendiary tracks such as ‘Shrine to Apathy’, ‘Dead and Gone’ and ‘Moment to Ruin’ being amongst some of the best work that Heathen have ever accomplished.
‘Empire…’ hardly breaks any new ground, but when the metal is this good, who even cares? This album is Heathen on top form doing what Heathen do best and any 2020 thrash metal collection would be invalidated without it.