Heathen - Breaking the Silence/Pray for Death Demo (Century Media) 1987
1. "Death by Hanging"
1999 German re-release of this Bay Area Thrash classic. Heathen were one of the hopefuls of the second wave of thrash coming in the mid-80's. For some strange reason, however, they could not hold it together as a band. The music on this debut, however, is excellent, tight, speedy heavy metal. This album gained some airplay because of the Sweet cover "Set Me Free," which is odd because this song doesn't really represent the sound of the rest of the album. (This song was also covered by Saxon.) I'm sure it was a record company decision to release this particular song as a single. It is also interesting to note that this disc was produced by legendary guitarist Ronnie Montrose. The re-release contains the entire 'Pray for Death' EP, which unfortunately is not much different than the album tracks, save for the opening tracks organ intro. The re-release also includes a 12 page, full color booklet with a short bio, lyrics and tons of photos.
Heathen - Victims of Deception (Roadracer) 1991
Excellent thrash metal that simply machine guns and tears holes in your ears from beginning to end. Strange thing about this, their second release, is that it came out almost five years after their first album was released on Combat Records. You would think that with that much time between releases, and a few members changing, that their sound would radically change. Fortunately it did not. "Victims of Deception" is a fine slab of California thrash metal. Lots of speedy riffs and double bass, yet retaining a sense of melody, not unlike the first two Forbidden discs. There are also plenty of those mosh rhythms that made thrash so enjoyable. Vocalist David-White Godfrey has a smooth voice, yet enough aggression to get the job done. "Kill the King" is a Rainbow cover that has been done by more bands than I can remember right now.
Heathen - Recovered (independent) 2004
"Recovered" isn't exactly a new album, as it isn't an album full of original and new Heathen songs. However, this album shreds from start to finish, and is one fine metal album. "Recovered" starts off with several excellent cover songs. "Death on Two Legs" is a Queen song that is very capably done. However, it is the next song that got me charged. "The Holy War" is a heavy Thin Lizzy cover that is worth the price of admission alone. The band sticks very close to the original on this cover. "In Memory Of..." is a kick butt original, that could easily have been a Dokken ballad. A ballad? Absolutely, and a well done ballad at that. Ahhhm, but from here on out we are treated to some of the finest speed metal. "Hellbound" is a headbanging tribute to the NWOBHM by way of the Tygers of Pan Tang. This song seriously is awesome and brings back the glory days of Heathen's thrashy sound, although at times I am reminded of Armored Saint's classic metal sound as well. "Eye of the Storm", a Sweet Savage cover, continues in the same mode. "Hypnotized" is seven minutes of brain melting, straight-up thrash metal. This, and the remaining three tracks are actually demo recordings for Victims of Deception album. "Eye of the Storm" is yet another speed metal romp that is features tons of smokin' lead guitar work. Likewise, the epic "Opiate for the Masses" recalls the glory days of the Bay Area thrash sound. "Timeless Call" rules! Of the Heathen originals on this CD, this is probably my favorite track. "Recovered" finishes off with a final thrasher titled "Mercy is no Virtue." The riffs here should send any longtime speed metal head into instant fits of headbanging. This is yet another track re-recorded from the out-of-print "Vicitms of Deception" CD. So, for an odds n' sods type of CD, this album as actually quite enjoybale and has helped to raise my hopes of great things to come from the reformed Heathen.
Heathen - The Evolution of Chaos (Mascot Records) 2009
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