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Hatchet - Dawn Of The End

Dawn Of The End
by Drago at 18 February 2013, 12:23 PM

The Bay Area thrash movement changed Metal music forever. Spearheaded by METALLICA, EXODUS and TESTAMENT it expanded on the NWOBHM and took it to levels never before seen. Many of the legendary bands are still playing quality metal today so it is refreshing to see a new face on the scene also keeping the sound alive even though they most likely aren’t old enough to remember the original movement. Forming in 2006 HATCHET have already travelled a path that has been filled with changes and the unknown. After five long years they are ready to return with their sophomore record “Dawn Of The End” released through Brooklyn’s The End Records.

Not only has it been five years in between releases, they have had to find a new label and only one original member remains from their debut. Founding guitar player Juiz Ramos has kept the flag flying and has put the band on his back to ensure its legacy. Not only has Juiz Ramos recruited all new members he has taken on the role as vocalist and lead guitarist now as well. Most would have left HATCHET dead in the water after the long break, losing all its members and having to secure a new recording contract. Not only was it worth the wait, “Dawn Of The End” crushes their debut “Awaiting Evil” and finds the band at its creative peak.

The Bay Area Thrash is all over this release, specifically TESTAMENT and EXODUS. The riffs are pulled right off “The New Order” and “Pleasures of the Flesh.” The influence is undeniable and the quality of the riffs is outstanding. It should come to no surprise that Ramos vocal style is in the vein of Steve Souza of both TESTAMENT and EXODUS fame. It is a huge improvement over original vocalist Marcus Kirchen. Not only is his pitch and timbre better, the melody lines are also vastly improved. Another huge improvement is the new drummer Eli Lucas. The drums on the debut were one of the weak spots on the record and to play Thrash you need a monster of a drummer and that is exactly what Lucas brings. Exciting fills and amazing double kicks are everywhere. The biggest improvement is the production. The production on “Awaiting Evil” was severely lacking and held the band back. Handling the production duties is Nick Botelho and the dynamics and the modern production does wonders for HATCHET’s sound.

The riffs and lead playing stand out more than anything. There are classic Thrash riffs and jaw dropping leads in abundance. Closing track “Vanishing Point” is the highlight as Ramos finds his voice and everything comes together perfectly. Incredible riffs with a breakneck pace combined with the best chorus and dazzling leads make for the best song on the record. The start and stop riffs of “Fall from Grace” will have you banging your head against the stage and here we also have an incredible lead and one of the more catchier moments of the record. Midway through we have an incredible breakdown with an amazing harmony guitar riff that is my favourite part of the record.

Overall Ramos needs to work on creating catchier vocal lines. I believe that will come in time as this his first time behind the mic. His vocals are an improvement but to reach the heights of Steve Souza and Chuck Billy he needs to take his game to another level. He has the music portion down he just needs to push himself more on his vocals so the songs are more memorable.

An outstanding return to the scene as HATCHET has finally arrived and has made a bold statement that they are one of the premier Thrash bands of this modern movement. The complete retooling of the line-up and the switch on vocals has been a blessing in disguise. I think with Ramos gaining more confidence as a singer, HATCHET’s next release will see them reaching their pinnacle. On “Dawn Of The End” HATCHET went from a footnote in Thrash history to one of the best modern Thrash bands on the scene.

4 Star Rating

1. After the Dark
2. Silenced by Death
3. Screams of the Night
4. Fall from Grace
5. Revelations of Good and Evil
6. Signals of Infection
7. Dawn of the End
8. Sinister Thoughts
9. Welcome to the Plague
10. Vanishing Point
Juiz Ramos – Vocals, Lead Guitars
Travis Russey – Bass
Eli Lucas – Drums
Clark Webb - Guitars
Record Label: The End Records


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