Heathen’s new record, Empire of the Blind, drops this week via Nuclear Blast on Friday, September 18, their fourth record in their storied career and with 11 years since their last disc, The Evolution of Chaos. Heathen, like a lot of bands, have had their fair share of ups and downs over the years.
They caught a hot streak from 1984 until their breakup in 1993 before reuniting in 2001. Metal notables Ira Black (guitarist, Lizzy Borden), the late, great David Wayne (vocals, ex-Metal Church) and the legendary Paul Baloff (vocals, ex-Exodus) have at one time or another graced the Heathens lineup. And now, when we need music the most, especially hard-hitting metal, the band delivers their strongest, most impactful record to date.
Empire of the Blind is a statement record. It’s a mirror held up to look into. The question is, what do we see? Indifference? Political lies and manipulation? Social unrest and pandemic? The song titles say it all: “This Rotting Sphere,” “The Blight,” “Empire of the Blind,” “Dead and Gone,” and these are just the first five tracks on this record.
There’s genuine anger that cuts through David White’s vocals from the first to the last song. Each track is an exercise in rage, frustration, and fear regarding life now, and moving forward beyond 2020. Empire of the Blind is Heathen operating at a high level musically and lyrically, elevating the genre of speed and thrash with catchy hooks, mosh beats, and vocals that cut straight to the bone.
Musically, Heathen have put the “heavy” back into metal with this 12-song opus that sports a veritable wall of chunk-style-crunch thanks to the twin guitar attack of Lee Altus and Kragen Lum coupled with the rhythm section of Jim DeMaria on drums and Jason Mirza on bass.
Their signature “Bay Area” thrash sound is thicker and fatter than ever on tracks like “Blood to be Let” and “A Fine Red Mist.” Empire of the Blind is a must buy album and, as I said at the beginning of this review, Heathen’s best record to date. The bloodletting has commenced…
Pre-order Empire of the Blind here, dropping September 18 via Nuclear Blast