Hirax - Immortal Legacy
Thrash Metal
12 songs (38' 2")
Release year: 2014
Hirax, Steamhammer
Reviewed by Andy

Hirax's pure tenaciousness in the face of a revolving door of musicians, mostly due to its constant proponent, vocalist Katon de Pena, has garnered it a good deal of affection and respect in the metal community over the years. Their newest, Immortal Legacy, doesn't change much in their sound, so their detractors will likely continue to hate this one too, but fans will be happy -- and why not? The production's better, and de Pena's voice seems fresher and cleaner than in the last few albums, though the album doesn't really provide any surprises either.

Black Smoke, the first track, has the beat and attack of a modern thrash song, regular and disciplined, rather than their older albums' shorter and more chaotic tunes. Mini-solos wander in and out of the spaces between the verses and chorus, and de Pena's vocals, at times slightly off-key, haven't changed a bit, which we get to hear more of, a capella, in Hellion Rising. Victims of the Dead changes the rhythm a bit to be more swinging, but with machine-gun efficiency, giving way to a short, slippery-sounding guitar solo. None of the songs are particularly subtle or clever; Hirax has usually put more emphasis on kicking the listener's ass than making a unique or memorable thrash song, and this album is no exception. That being said, most of the songs are different in their own way, and without the common thread of de Pena's vocals, there would be much less to tie them together. For instance, Thunder Roar, the Conquest, La Boca de La Bestia - The Mouth of the Beast, one of my favorites (and also the longest song on the album), makes more of an attempt at an epic song instead of the usual few minutes of thrash fare.

Towards the middle of the album, more emphasis is placed on the use of the guitar as more than a mere blunt instrument. I particularly enjoyed Tied to the Gallows Pole as well, which has an even crisper beat than the others, as well as more guitar soloing, following Earthshaker, a little guitar instrumental intro in the same vein. I'm sure it is possible for one to get tired of de Pena's vocals, which don't change much or have much more in the way of tones other than a mid-range howl and a high-pitched scream/yell, but I didn't. Enthusiasm for his art drips from his voice, and on tracks that could easily get boring in other hands, such as Deceiver or the title track, he can infuse so much energy into the performance that it's easy to get into it. The album's back to what became common in Hirax offerings -- there are at least three different standalone "intro" instrumental tracks, boosting the track list without raising quality much -- but even treated as a nine-song set of solid songs, it's hard to feel cheated -- the listener gets what he ought to expect from them, no more, no less.

The World Will Burn, the final track, has a simple but fast little riff that is not particularly interesting, but doesn't grate on the ears either. In a way, this really symbolizes what Hirax has committed to: Consistent, medium-quality thrash that is never going to wow the listener with their musical evolution, but isn't going to piss anyone off either. de Pena still continues to push solid releases with a very similar feel to their debut, and this one is no exception.

Killing Songs :
Hellion Rising, Thunder Roar, the Conquest, La Boca de La Bestia - The Mouth of the Beast, Tied to the Gallows Pole
Andy quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Hirax that we have reviewed:
Hirax - El Rostro De La Muerte reviewed by Tony and quoted 85 / 100
Hirax - Noise Chaos War reviewed by Tony and quoted no quote
Hirax - The New Age of Terror reviewed by Jason and quoted 30 / 100
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