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Review: Hirax - El Rostro de la Muerte
El Rostro de la Muerte

Label: Black Devil Records
Year released: 2009
Duration: 51:21
Tracks: 14
Genre: Thrash Metal


Review online: December 19, 2009
Reviewed by: Hermer Arroyo
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.33/5 (86.67%) (12 Votes)

Hirax, one of the forgotten bands of the Bay Area are back once again with their fourth album in twenty-five years, El Rostro de la Muerte. When I saw the title, I thought that the album would be in Spanish, however it is only the title of one of the songs (and even that is only one line). Contrary to their 80's efforts, this album is almost an hour long and there is some Thrash goodness to satisfy me for a while. There is headbanging material found here like "The Laws of Temptation", "Baptized by Fire" and "Satan's Fall" (nice closer).

The musicianship is what you expect from a veteran Thrash band. And while they have existed since 1984, this is a totally revamped lineup with the exception of their singer Kanton de Pena. He has a piercing voice, it is not world class and the less I say about this aspect the better. Unfortunately, he is often front and center, greatly diminishing the quality of the songs. The rest of the band is better, starting with their guitarists. They deliver solid but common riffs, however their leads are the highlight in each song. The rhythm section does the job, the drumming is frantic but in control and although I would have preferred a louder bass, I found it to be good.

But the few thrills that I had with the album don't last forever as sometimes the songs can get old really fast. Because of their mid-paced nature, aside from three to five tracks, there is little that differentiate them as a whole and the number of interludes doesn't help things either. This record has all the things that I like about Thrash Metal but there was something that just didn't click with me. I really wanted to like this album more, but I have never been the biggest Hirax fan and El Rostro de la Muerte will not make me a convert. In the end this record struggles to have much lasting power, but if you are a fan get this. I just find it to be slightly above average.

More about Hirax...
Review: Hate, Fear and Power (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Noise Chaos War (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Raging Violence (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Raging Violence (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with vocalist Katon W. De Pena on March 15, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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