HATRIOT – “The Vale of Shadows”

by Thor

Bay Area thrash monster HATRIOT returns with “The Vale of Shadows,” the band’s fourth LP featuring eleven tracks of hyper-aggressive, neck snapping metal that seem to flow through these dudes directly from whatever thrash alchemy hides beneath the Oakland soil.

HATRIOT was formed a little over a decade ago by EXODUS front man Steve “Zetro” Souza who appears on their demo and first two full-length albums. When EXODUS came calling, or re-calling as it were, Zetro relinquished his vocal duties to son and bass player Cody Souza. In addition to Cody on bass, the band also features Nick Souza on drums. And while a “sons of EXODUS” band can be and almost certainly is in some small-minded circles perceived as a gimmick, I assure you it’s not. These motherfuckers are amazing.

On “The Vale of Shadows,” HATRIOT plays a brand of thrash metal that’s both classical and modern sounding. Cody’s default vocal delivery is reminiscent of his old man’s but with the aggression cranked to 11. Not only that, but this album ups the band’s intensity across the board by injecting overt death metal influences into the mix, including guttural vocal flourishes and a few blast beats which are welcome ingredients to an already potent brew.

You’d also be hard pressed to find another recent thrash album that’s as sonically impressive as this one. “The Vale of Shadows” is an incredibly clean, punchy, and heavy production. From a technical perspective, the album is a rare example of solving the age-old thrash/death metal mix riddle. Every note from every instrument—and there are a lot of them—is present and audible, but not in an antiseptic, artificially plastic sounding way. Impressive stuff!

Fans of the legendary Bay Area scene of yore as well as fans of modern thrash acts such as HAVOK and WARBRINGER will find a lot to pump their fists to on HATRIOT’s “The Vale of Shadows,” out now on Massacre Records.