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Hatchet - Dying to Exist Award winner

Dying to Exist
by Dave Nowels at 16 July 2018, 5:55 AM

Thrash! Bay Area Thrash Metal to be exact! Just the mention of Bay Area Thrash Metal should be enough to excite any metal head. Conjuring up images of the beginnings of the Big Four, HATCHET is indeed living up to Combat Record’s slogan of “Make America Thrash Again!”. HATCHET’s newest album, “Dying To Exist” is the band’s fourth, and their first for legendary Combat Records. And indeed, they’ve even received Combat head and MEGADETH bassist extraordinaire, David Ellefson’s personal approval. Ellefson says, “HATCHET is a great young band who definitely fit the bill For Combat. Aggressive modern Thrash Metal with an old-school intensity.”

Ellefson’s assessment is spot on to my ears. The songs on “Dying To Exist” are played with force, urgency and seemingly little care for the consequences. Live, HATCHET must leave an audience a sweaty, neck-sore, disheveled wreck. But a happy wreck at that. “Unraveling Existence (Intro)” is an instrumental that somewhat sneakily opens the album sounding more NWOBHM than Thrash. “Genocide” quickly makes a statement that this album is going in a far heavier direction. Ramos and Cagle attack the senses with a dual guitar assault that is effective and stunning in its urgency and purpose. “Desire for Oppression” continues the sonic aggression, but “Illusions of Hope” was the first song that really won me over. The heavy “chug-chug” rhythm guitar in the beginning immediately had me banging my head and playing air guitar, much to the humor of my co-workers. Add to this the impressive double kick drum work happening thanks to Ben Smith, and the equally impressive bass foundation laid down by Devin Reiche, “Illusions..” should win any Thrash fan over.

“Dying To Exist”, according to Ramos, is the band’s fastest and most creative album to date, stating that all four members were involved in the creative process. It shows. In addition to just an all out Thrash assault, “Dying To Exist” accomplishes something that many Thrash bands are unable to capture, Originality, and freshness. Songs like “Where Futures Regress” and “Hail to the Lies” bring to mind a bit of Progressive Metal through intricate time changes and complexities. While not completely a new idea to Thrash, I found it to be one of the most effective I’ve heard to date.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Unraveling Existence
2. Genocide
3. Desire for Oppression
4. Illusions of Hope
5. Warsaw
6. Where the Futures Regress
7. Back Into Dust
8. Final Sanctuary
9. Descent Into Madness
10. Oblivious to Disorder
11. Hail to the Lies
12. World in a World
Julz Ramos – Vocals, Guitar
Clayton Cagle – Guitar
Devin Reiche – Bass
Ben Smith – Drums
Record Label: Combat Records


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