It seems like the metal community has been experiencing more intergenerational camaraderie in recent years. Ol Drake of Evile had a brief stint as Destruction’s touring guitarist, Gary Holt produced a Warbringer album, and a whole new can of worms was opened when Max Cavalera revealed that his son would be the newest drummer for Soulfly.
Cue the debut of Hatriot (or Hat Riot as I like to call them), a new thrash band featuring former Exodus/Tenet vocalist Steve “Zetro” Sousa alongside a group of kids that includes his two sons as the rhythm section. Fortunately any signs of nepotism are lost as the group offers a pretty solid debut.
Considering how dear old Zetro is the band’s mastermind, it goes without saying that their first outing feels like it could’ve been a follow-up to Exodus’s Tempo Of The Damned. The production has a clean but crisp tone, the guitars run through numerous trade-offs and harmonies, and the vocals are as pissed off as ever. They even one-up some of his alma mater’s recent work with shorter songs, more extreme drumming, gang vocals, and those punny lyrics that every thrash band was obsessed with using back in the day.
Of course, Heroes Of Origin still has a few quirks to it. The production is somehow even cleaner than your typical Andy Sneap sound-alike with the drums in particular sounding rather triggered and the songs generally operate at faster tempos with very little room to groove. In addition, Zetro seems to be falling into the Tom Araya trap of shrieking at a higher pitch than necessary. His voice is full of energy and never cracks, but you rarely hear the lower Bon Scott sneer that was always his most distinct asset.
And while there aren’t any tracks that make for truly distinct highlights, they’re all well constructed. Tracks like “Weapons of Class Destruction” and “Murder American Style” offer memorable vocals and guitar runs while “Globicidal” and “The Mechanics of Annihilation” provide the most intense hooks. In addition, “The Violent Time Of My Dark Passenger” has more subdued verses, “And Your Children To Be Damned” dabbles with more guttural flourishes, and “Shadows Of The Buried” starts off with the album’s sole slower moment before picking up speed.
Hatriot’s debut album shows a good balance of old and new elements as it gives thrash fans a sound that they’ve been clamoring for while leaving room for further development. It’s not at the level of a modern classic but it is the kind of album that makes one wonder what could happen if more band mentoring took place in this fashion. And considering how this is supposed to be the Kill ‘Em All of the band’s career, we’ll just see where they’ll go from here.
“Weapons of Class Destruction”
“The Violent Time of My Dark Passenger”
“Murder American Style”
“The Mechanics Of Annihilation”