Heathen - Victims of Deception
Roadrunner Records
Thrash Metal
9 songs (59:24)
Release year: 1991
Heathen , Roadrunner Records
Reviewed by Thomas

This album does nothing but confirm what a fucking shame it is that this band died an early death not very long after this, their second release Victims of Deception. This showed signs of a band that used their years in between wisely. Yes, they changed their line-up drastically, as only Lee Altus and Doug Piercy remained from the successful Breaking the Silence-team. However, they matured significantly over the four years that passed, and the song-writing took a more technical approach than their debut. Seven out of eleven songs exceeds the 6-minute mark and only two songs are shorter than five minutes long. It demands some patience yes, however this is really pretty straight-forward without any overly complex or weird passages. Breaking the Silence was probably a tad bit faster too, however, you should not worry about not getting your ass kicked as this is full of relentless energy, charisma, aggression and speed. You know, it’s weird when a band very few have heard of comes strolling into your life and tears down nearly everything the pioneers of the genre did before them. Yes I said it, this literally slays everything Metallica or Anthrax ever did. Feel free to disagree with me, but this is really top notch stuff. Can you imagine a band that makes 9-minute thrash songs and that are actually getting away with it?

I can. The thunderous riffing by Altus and Piercy is thundering across the metal plains with building intensity and progression. Heathen’s Song, the 9-minute thrashing epic, mixes up soft acoustic parts with angry, face-stomping riffs both mid-paced and occasionally speedy. And then the solos. Oh, what can I say about this guitar wizardry? They are ripping out solo after solo like they’ve never done before (or after really). Overlapping guitar-battles, unstoppable riffs and amazing rhythmic work makes this worthy a listen alone. Then there’s the drumming. Darren Minter’s mad blasting is much more exciting than Sacco’s stiffer style of playing. Minter strikes you with complex fills and you never know when he’s going to stomp that dollar on your face. Speaking of the bass-drum, he does use some fairly odd techniques in some fairly odd situations. He does, however, make it fit pretty well. Take the solo part on Morbid Curiousity as an example on his crazy yet precise playing. There is not much that bothers me with this. If there were to be something that annoys me slightly, it has to be the vocals. Don’t get me wrong, they’re performed more or less flawlessly; however I’m probably not the only one who prefers David Godfrey’s timeless and fierce wails that were so important on framing Breaking the Silence to what it was and still is.

This does, as Breaking the Silence, also contain a cover. On their debut it was Sweet’s Set Me Free, and here it is Rainbow’s Kill the King that gets wrapped in the thrash metal outfit. This is one of the two shorter songs on here along with the instrumental Guitarmony. I have yet to hear the original, but from what I’ve been led to believe, this is performed without any flaws, and the face-ripping solos lifts this one through the roof. Another excellent cover, which isn’t really surprising at all. In general, there are really nothing surprising here. They have developed their style a bit yes, but they never let go of the tight chokehold they placed with Breaking the Silence. This is a great example on how a band can develop in the right direction despite line-up changes and other turbulences. Another factor that makes this a great achievement is that it was released in 1991. The beast that was thrash metal was crippled from the waist down. Band after band went down the drain or started releasing utter crap, while this and Sepultura’s Arise probably were the only albums worthy of the label.

If you’re a thrash fan and haven’t yet heard these guys, you shouldn’t hesitate on spending your hard-earned cash on this. In fact you can download both this and their debut free of their website. An obscure classic that belongs in every thrash maniac’s collection. No wait. Make that fucking essential.

Killing Songs :
Every song kills!
Thomas quoted CLASSIC
Adam quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Heathen that we have reviewed:
Heathen - The Evolution Of Chaos reviewed by Thomas and quoted 95 / 100
Heathen - Breaking The Silence reviewed by Thomas and quoted 90 / 100
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