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Hatchets for Hands - Cabaret of Decay

Hatchets for Hands
Cabaret of Decay
by Neil Cook at 03 July 2020, 9:59 AM

Hailing from the spiritual home of Thrash, San Francisco and sounding like a cross between the Bay Area and the Fjords of Scandinavia, HATCHETS FOR HANDS, are the studio project of Brian Parks and Cullen Poythress, they use their influences of Death Metal, old school Thrash and to create their own sound, which when it works it really works, but at times it misses the mark for me.

I’ll be honest from the start I am not a big fan of the Death inspired vocals, some of the problem is they are lost a bit in the mix, sitting behind the music rather than riding the swell of the songs.  There are a couple of occasions where they work, such as “Age Of Deceit” and “Midnight Wings”, more on both later.

For me this is an album of two halves.  For me the album takes a distinct turn for the better after the aforementioned “Age Of Deceit”.  From here on in there seems to be a bit more melody, without loosing the ferocity, perhaps there is more of a leaning to the Thrash than the Death side of their sound.  There is more of an emphasis on tunefulness and hooks, it is obvious both guys can play their respective instruments.

As is clearly illustrated on the old school sounding “Free To Ride”, the drum intro followed by the crunchy riffing, hell even the Death growled vocals work on this one. The soloing is pure 80s or 90s Metal.

And thankfully “Panaphobic” musically carries on in that vein.  This is proper Metal, the guitar licks are classic MAIDEN!  There are even a series of hey, hey , hey’s to get the fists pumping.

Bad Men” Thrashes along like EXODUS before coming up with the most melodic riffing and soloing.  And again the rythium laid down by the drums works, and you can tell they are being thumped by someone who knows if craft.

The last two tracks are essentially one. The instrumental interlude “Lusibus Interitus” acts as in intro to the acoustic intro for “Midnight Wings”, which is a great slab of Nordic Mellow Death, throw in a few references to Odin, or longboats and it would verge on something a certain Viking Metal band might play.  The double tracking of the guitars is a nice touch, and is a great song to finish the album.

For me this would have worked so much better as an EP made  up of the last 6 songs. Also there is no denying these guys are an amazing guitarist and drummer respectively, and I would love to hear this material presented with a different singer and bassist, and I mean this in the most respectful way, as this could add greater depth to what are great tunes.  I’m not a fan of the vocals and for me the bass was lost in the mix, and it is perhaps because they put so much into the fretwork and the monster drumming.

The only other slight moan is some of the songs deserve a better ending.  Some of the ones mentioned above simply stopped, which is OK, but there was a bit of a feeling, “that ones done, on to the next”.

This is so close to being a really good collection, I’m probably giving it a better score that an album where the first 4 songs don’t do it for me, and the other things mentioned above, but I can hear bags of potential, and would love to see this project develop into a full bloodied band.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Kabearetdirrar
2. Spires Of Winter
3. S.T.F.H
4. The Line
5. Age Of Deceit
6. Free To Ride
7. Panaphobic
8. Bad Men
9. Lusibus Interitus
10. Midnight Wings
Brian Parks - Guitar, Bass
Cullen Poythress - Vocals, Drums
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 04 December 2022

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