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Review: Heathen - The Evolution of Chaos
The Evolution of Chaos

Label: Mascot Records
Year released: 2010
Duration: 67:13
Tracks: 11
Genre: Thrash Metal


Review online: March 1, 2010
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
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Rated 4.74/5 (94.84%) (93 Votes)

I regarded a new Heathen album with trepidation, as I did not think they could possibly produce anything but an embarrassing stain on their history. I am as happy as anybody that this is not true, and that The Evolution of Chaos is as fine an example of Bay Area Thrash as has been made for decades.

I really expected more of a difference in songwriting, but Heathen have picked up pretty much exactly where they left off, employing a blisteringly heavy guitar sound in service of their usual rather studied sound. This is epic and somewhat proggy Thrash metal that goes for much more complex songwriting that Thrash normally bothers with. This is less cerebral and tighter than Victims of Deception, but still does not have the feral energy of the debut album. The songs are long and multilayered, the musicianship is ultra-tight and tastefully employed, and David White sounds better than maybe he ever has.

If I have to level one caveat, it's that the band hardly ever really lets go and thrashes. Most of this album is more mid-paced, and despite the tasty riffing I found myself really wishing they would just rip into it for once. You only get the sense of the guys being caught up in their own music here and there, and there is a certain emotional distance in the album that is just inarguably there.

But when an album is this good, a lot of minor beefs can be overlooked. 90% of this is hard, heavy, crushing Thrash madness that pushes the form beyond 4/4 bleating and into genuine epic territory. Not to mention that this is from a band who haven't made an album in like 20 years, and a better album than I thought they had in them. The Evolution of Chaos will top a lot of critic's year-end lists for 2010, and it's not like it doesn't deserve to.

More about Heathen...
Review: Breaking the Silence (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Empire of the Blind (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Empire of the Blind (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Recovered (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Evolution of Chaos (reviewed by Adam Kohrman)
Review: The Evolution of Chaos (reviewed by Hermer Arroyo)
Review: Victims of Deception (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with bassist Jason Viebrooks and guitarist Kragen Lum on March 1, 2015 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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