Hirax: Immortal Legacy review

There are several bands that were born in blood out of the 80’s thrash metal scene that are currently putting out some of their best work in nearly three decades with bands like Testament, Exodus and Slayer leading the charge. Los Angeles-based thrashers Hirax are no exception.

Hirax have somehow managed to fly under the thrash metal radar for almost 30 years now, just dodging the success felt by thrash masters like Annihilator, Overkill and Kreator. Their newest abomination for SPV Records, Immortal Legacy, is set to erase nearly 30 years of injustice and catapult them into the metal stratosphere of their thrash contemporaries.

Immortal Legacy is a dystopian symphony of thundering grooves and monolithic slabs of improvised chaos, that moves at a mechanized pace and features artwork by the legendary Philip Lawvere of Celtic Frost and Kreator fame, who came out of a 25 year retirement to do the cover art.

From the opening notes of “Black Smoke” it is easy to see  it is a glorious cacophony of Overkill and Kreator blended with the vocal stylings of the late, great David Wayne from Metal Church.

There are further nods to Metal Church on tracks like “Victims of the Dead” and “Tied to the Gallows Pole.” Both showcase sledgehammer riffs that would make Kurdt Vanderhoof proud. If you close your eyes on lead single “Hellion Rising” or “Violence Of Action” you will be transported to the early days of Exodus with the almighty Paul Baloff at the helm.

“Thunder Roar-The Conquest-The Mouth Of The Beast” and “Deceiver” have the same explosive effect and vocal attack of vintage Nuclear Assault, leaving behind the devastation of a 10-megaton warhead while title track “Immortal Legacy” sounds like a bloody death match between Slayer and Testament with Dave Mustaine serving as corner coach.

They even find time for guitarist Lance Harrison and his bassist brother Steve Harrison to prominently display their nimble fretwork abilities on the instrumentals “Earthshaker,” “S.O.W.” and “Journey To Atlantis.”

Closer “The World Will Burn” is a short, sweet and straight to the fucking point piece of blitzkrieg metal that is similar enough to Annihilator to make Jeff Waters himself stand up and take notice.

Here’s the bottom line- After several line up changes and various periods of inactivity Hirax are back together and stronger than ever. If you like old school thrash in the vein of Slayer, Testament, Exodus, Overkill, Metal Church or Kreator, you simply must give Hirax a try as they are set to take their place along side all the forementioned bands in the pantheon of the metal gods.

Rating: 8.5/10

Eric Hunker