“The Empire of the Blind”

By Dr. Abner Mality

HEATHEN’s last album “The Evolution of Chaos” was out 10 long years ago. It was one of the very best albums out in 2010 and remains as one of the very best modern efforts from an “original” thrash band. It holds up extremely well now. So “Empire of The Blind” has an awful lot to live up to.

This record follows squarely in the footsteps of its predecessor and is highly enjoyable but not really at quite the same level. The same template is followed: energetic thrash with a high degree of melody and the smooth vocals of David White. Musically HEATHEN cannot be faulted, as each member delivers the goods. I would compare them to a cross between EXODUS and FORBIDDEN.  First real song “The Blight” reminds me a bit of the EXODUS tune “Riot Act” only with more melodic guitar. It sets the stage for the rest of the album very well.

There is something slightly lesser about the song quality here compared to “Evolution of Chaos”, which was pretty close to perfect. Tracks like “Blood To Let” and the moody “Shrine of Apathy” are fine, but a little short of HEATHEN’s best. You do get some absolute corkers like the title track, “Dead And Gone” and the shredding instrumental “A Fine Red Mist”, where Kragen Lum and Lee Altus just plain kill. Lyrically, this album seems even more pessimistic than the last one, which was no glee fest, but given what’s going on the in world, who can blame them?

Bottom line? HEATHEN remains one of the most consistent of thrash’s old guard and should be an easy purchase for anybody into acts ranging from SLAYER to QUEENSRYCHE.