Heroes of Origin may not have been a classic thrash album but it definitely turned a lot of heads in 2013. The union of thrash legend Steve "Zetro" Sousa and four twenty-somethings (two of whom are his sons) is an intriguing one and seemed to fill the void for those who wanted the pre-Dukes Exodus sound. Hatriot's sophomore effort may have been overshadowed by Zetro's return to his alma mater, but it offers some worthwhile metal for having been released so quickly.
While Hatriot's evolution between albums isn't as dramatic as the shift between Kill Em All and Ride the Lightning, Dawn of the New Centurion does show some new elements The songwriting is more complex as songs like "Silence In The House Of The Lord" and the title track have more elaborate structures while "The Fear Within" has some melodic segments that add a suspenseful flair. The gang vocals also beefed up in a year and give a strong Chuck Billy flavor to songs like "From My Cold Dead Hands" and "World Funeral." In this sense, the album feels more like a Testament offshoot than anything Exodus has come up with lately.
Of course, this is the same band even with the changes in place. The guitars and drums retain their intensity, the bass gets some prominent spots, and the production has the same clean tinge. The contributions of a man like Zetro are also unmistakeable with his shrieks at their usual pitch and the lyrics showcasing the same mix of politics, violence, and silly, silly puns. I don't think even Paul Baloff himself would come up with a title like "Superkillafragsadisticactsaresoatrocious." Probably for good reason...
The changes do result in more interesting songs than before but the writing isn't quite as catchy as the Heroes Of Origin material. The choruses of the longer songs are oddly the most memorable and thrashers like "Your Worst Enemy" will get your head going, but there aren't as many riffs that'll truly grab your attention. That said, this release does grow on you and takes a few more listens to get into compared to its predecessor.
And with that, Dawn Of The New Centurion is a solid thrash album that may offer a couple of Hatriot's best songs but falls a little short of the debut. It has some cool ideas and the band still has a lot of potential to get even better under Zetro's leadership. Let's just hope he doesn't leave them high and dry now that he's got his old gig back...
"The Fear Within"
"Silence In The House Of The Lord"
"Dawn of the New Centurion"