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Haxon – Wrath of the Machine

Haxon
Wrath of the Machine
by Rachel Montgomery at 07 December 2020, 4:10 PM

HAXON is an interesting addition to the new wave of traditional metal trend. Rather than going back to the sound of bands like LED ZEPPLIN similar to GRETA VON FLEET, they’re taking their sound to early thrash. Formed in 2015, the band met at guitar lessons at School of Rock. Tyler Cantrell, the lead guitarist, has been playing guitar since he was ten and his hard work through the years is apparent in his tight style. However, while their instrumentals are excellent, the vocal parts of their songs are mediocre at best.

After the solid intro, I noticed the songs are good up until the speak-singing. The lyrics are overly obvious for my taste a a little heavy-handed. However, they play into the old-school thrash metal tradition. “By Virtue” is an instrumental-heavy track which is probably one of the best examples of this. The intro and guitar solos show talent, but don’t quite make up for the grunting vocals and the slight grain in the production quality on earlier tracks. However, I will admit the vocal style reminds me of early VENOM, so if that’s a style you enjoy, check this band out.

I enjoyed the opening of “Man, The State, And War”, which had a very vintage production value and guitar style. However, the grunting vocals and obvious lyrics do the song a disservice. Like the previous song, the guitar solo is awesome, with a notable tempo and melody change in the middle that makes you stop and pay attention. For me, the album really stars getting good at “Sands Of Doom”. The guitar work is extremely solid and tight here, especially during the solo. The narration elements were also a plus on this track. “Mask Of The Other” snagged my attention with a tuned-down funk rock riff I’d expect to see in something akin to RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS. They also include low, chanting vocals at the end of the track, a surprising addition. Their closing track, “Etched In Stone Part II” features some nice progressive elements, including a three-four chorus with a tolling bell in the background and a few melody changes. It leaves the album on a vintage, progressive note, especially with the creative, intricate guitar work.

Overall, the instrumentals are spot-on. The work the band’s put into their craft since they were teenagers is really apparent in the tight guitar and drum work. The production is a little dated on some tracks. However, the grunting vocals and heavy-handed lyrics break the album for me. Full disclosure, early thrash metal really isn’t my bag, but if you want to go back to the early days of METALLICA, MEGADETH, and others, check these guys out. For future albums though, I highly recommend Haxon does more with instrumentals. Their musical playing is awesome, and I highly enjoyed their instrumental work. In fact, I’d go so far as to say their intros and guitar solos are the strongest parts of their songs. And while the vocals and lyrics aren’t the strongest element, they contribute to its vintage vibe.

Songwriting: 8
Production: 6
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Wrath Of An Era
  2. The Periphery
  3. Man, The State, And War
  4. The Equilibrium Of Death
  5. Misplaced Optimism
  6. Sands Of Doom
  7. When The Phalanx Breaks
  8. MDCCXCIII
  9. Mask Of The Other
  10. By Virtue
  11. 13:00
  12. Etched In Stone, Part II
Lineup:
Corey Hornbaker - Vocals
Tyler Cantrell - Guitars
Dan Zahal - Bass Guitar
Mike Dodaro - Drums
Record Label: Machine Man records
     


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Edited 16 October 2021
 

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