Heathen - Breaking The Silence
Thrash Metal
8 songs (49:21)
Release year: 1987
Reviewed by Thomas
Archive review

Heathen may very well be the most underrated thrash metal band coming out of the Bay Area in the eighties. Even though the band got a lot of airplay with their single Set Me Free, they failed to establish themselves noticeable in the thrash scene. Breaking the Silence however recieved good reviews among the critics. Firstly, because they mixed in their NWOBHM-influences with their other material, secondly, because they simply play damn enjoyable thrash metal.

Heathen play thrash metal in the vein of the big four, especially Exodus. This may very well be because of Lee Altus' and Paul Baloff's early involvement with the band. As I mentioned earlier though, this bears a certain similarity to the NWOBHM-scene. David Godfrey's voice is razor sharp and aggressive but still very melodic and sometimes operatic in the same way as Bruce Dickinson. The songs are also, to a certain point, geared towards guitar harmonies and dual guitar solos, not unlike Iron Maiden and the likes. However, they never let go of their thrash roots. Fast and galloping riffs, steady drumming, ripping leads and the usual lyrics regarding death, occultism, religion and a little more death.

With a bombastic intro, Death by Hanging bursts out of my speakers with galopping madness. The riffs are simple yet aggressive and are backed up by excellent drumming from Carl Sacco. The first thing I noticed was the technically clean leads. The guitarists takes a neo-classical approach which demands great skill and technique. Thrash guitarists in general tends to get a little sloppy when it comes to technique. Goblin's Blade continues in the same manner and Godfrey shows off his vocal skills. As I said earlier, his voice is very melodic yet so sharp and intense that they're on the verge of piercing my tympanums. After giving this a fair ammount of spins, the opening duo does however falls short as the weakest songs on here. That does not mean that they're bad, far from it, but the following songs simply slays in comparison.

The diverse 7-minute monster Open the Grave varies between mid-paced to fast with great epic soloing and raw intensity. The short and angry Pray For Death carries on, and the album really picks itself up The album single and Sweet-cover Set Me Free is more on the happy side. It is melodic and catchy, and while I haven't heard the original, I must admit that this is bloody impressive. After the quick break from the thrashfest, the rifftastic title-track brings back the intense tickling in my neck. One of the highlights of the album. World's End and the brilliant Save the Skull closes the album, leaving you wanting more. Its a shame that Heathen didn't get the recognition they deserved. Heathen exceeded many bigger and more disinguished bands in terms of quality, songwriting and skill with this release. Including the big four. All in all an awesome debut. Fans of thrash and traditional metal should get this, skip to the last six songs and go crazy.

Killing Songs :
Open The Grave, Pray For Death, Set Me Free, World's End, Save The Skull
Thomas quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Heathen that we have reviewed:
Heathen - The Evolution Of Chaos reviewed by Thomas and quoted 95 / 100
Heathen - Victims of Deception reviewed by Thomas and quoted CLASSIC
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