|Review: Hatchet - Awaiting Evil|
Label: Metal Blade Records
Year released: 2008
Genre: Thrash Metal
Review online: July 10, 2008
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (4 Votes)
These Bay Area thrashers formed in 2006 and this is their first full length, following a couple of demos and an EP. It took me a few listens to really get into this, mostly because of the vocals and the sound which feels a little bit too clean at times. The vocals are pretty clean for a Thrash band - at least cleaner than what we hear from most singers in that genre nowadays. The singer does have a little pointy, harsh edge in his voice though, giving it just enough aggression to fit with the music here (and he sure as hell is better than that "new" guy in Exodus.) Anyway, after 3-4 listens all worries were put aside, once the ensemble started to sink in. Remember when we used to talk about the Bay Area Thrash sound? Well, Hatchet do have it nailed pretty well overall - there are of course hints of Metallica (the acoustic intro could have fit on RTL or MoP, and one or two solos sure come from that school as well) and Exodus - these are the two bands this music reminds me the most of, with a nod toward Exodus. The vocals make me think of a clean cross between Baloff and Petrozza (yeah I know, not Bay Area), mixing the harsh edge of Petrozza with the power of Baloff (a couple of those screams are almost as well done as on Bonded By Blood.)
The album is not overly fast paced, more mid-paced, oftentimes with a catchy galloping style that helps set these guys apart from their influences. While the sound is a little too clean for comfort at times, the music itself isn't particularly over-polished, with enough of a raw edge to give it that little "dirty" style that is mandatory in good Thrash. The solos on the other hand come from more diverse genres - of course we get the "typical" (if there's such a thing) Thrash solos, but there are also a few that could have come off a late 70s/early 80s Maiden album - this still catches me by surprise even after a good number of listens.
It's Thrash and there's only so much a band can bring to the genre while remaining faithful to it. Hatchet is just one of those bands that seems to have been transported in time from 20-25 years in the past. While their influences are quite noticeable here and there, overall this doesn't come up as a ripoff, the closest thing being the overall sound which is unmistakably Bay Area, save for a few hints of German Thrash sometimes hiding in a corner. Not revolutionary by any means, but not enough of a feel of "déjà heard" to be a turn-off either (save for the "Thrash revival bashing squad", let's not forget my favourite kiddies ;)). At the end of the day, what matters is that it's competently played and I have a good time when listening to it. Awaiting Evil fits that bill very well.
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