Hate, Fear And Power
Review by Felix on February 27, 2023.
Hirax is one of those bands that will always remain a mystery to me. My metal buddy bought their debut and he never tired of telling how great it was. To me, it was mainly a collection of noisy fragments that wanted to be songs. No flop, but far from the real classics that saw the light of day back in the mid-eighties. “Hate, Fear and Power” followed hot on the heels of “Raging Violence” and therefore it is more or less logical that it did not offer significant modifications. Already the opening title track made me frown again. This 30-seconds-fragment screamed “we’re still different” and I thought “oh, that's fine, but you give me absolutely nothing”.
Well, things get better during the next songs which, after all, have an average length of over two minutes. Katon’s nasal voice shouts against a permanently attacking instrumental fraction, some high-pitched shouts inclusive. Honestly speaking, in my humble opinion he sounds like the naughty brother of John Cyriis. There is still the “raging violence” the debut had promised and in rare moments, a minimalist melody fragment appears and delivers a hint of catchiness. The nearly epic “Blind Faith” (almost three minutes, beware!) presents a furious mix of, well, hate and power – only fear is missing. The remaining tracks follow the same approach. I like the beginning of “The Last War” very much, due to its expressive riffing and the double bass carpet, although it is one of the sections where the band does not bow down to the Gods of speed. But it goes without saying that a pretty unnecessary break stops the strong beginning and turns the piece into the typical Hirax chaos.
I am surprised that Nuclear Assault is on the first position in Hirax’ similar artists list. Dan Lilker and friends always had this crossover approach, metal power and punk casualness. Hirax have not much in common with punk, if we ignore the short length of their eruptions. It is thrash metal riffing with somersaulting drum rhythms and insane shouting, but without an obvious political attitude. The production also screams “metal” and nothing else. “Hate, Fear and Power” sounds very harsh, dirty yet not blurred, direct and brutal. And do not get me wrong, I like the songs to a certain degree – I just forget them as soon as they have ended. By contrast, my metal buddy still likes the early works of Hirax and the average ratings on M-A for these albums indicate that he is not alone in this. But for me it’s too late, I will probably never understand the true dimension of Hirax (if there is an impressive at all). It’s acceptable, solid second tier thrash with a lot of dedication and integrity, but without depth and different layers.
Rating: 6.9 out of 10298