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Hexx - Wrath Of The Reaper

Wrath Of The Reaper
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 05 August 2017, 6:13 PM

It was bound to happen sooner or later. With such a wide flow of bands coming back to the scene, it was only a matter of time until this beast will raise its ugly head after a deep slumber, or some would argue from scattered ashes. The Bay Area witch slayers, HEXX, are finally back with a new album, after checking out in the early 90s, finishing off with an extreme mindset in what could have been a promising decade for them. Eventually fate struck and they were out of the game. Slowly reemerging in 2013, the crew rebuilt itself and shaped into a steady lineup in 2015, and new material was already in the works. With the final stages of 2017 approaching, newly signed to the German High Roller Records, which became a home to plenty of revamped bands, HEXX released “Wrath Of The Witch”.

I thought it would be obvious that HEXX would continue from where they left off back in 1991 with the release of “Morbid Reality”, meaning following their Death / Thrash Metal fusion that took them into the fold of Century Media. That was a bitter mistake, but not a disappointment. In fact, and “Wrath Of The Witch” clearly shows it, HEXX were back in the time machine to their first two albums from the mid-80s, a respected synthesis of US Heavy / Power / Speed Metal that has been drawing energy and perspective of the renowned British Metal. I believe that it felt natural for the remaining founders to head to that direction, which apparently suits them quite well. Nonetheless, with a Rob Halford meets David Wayne influenced vocalist such as Eddy Vega, “Wrath Of The Witch”’s fate was to be heavier than the two classic Metal past albums. The displayed material is solid infusion of NWOBHM, in particular the mid-80s of IRON MAIDEN, and the outer NWOBHM experience of JUDAS PRIEST, nastier speeding and a little of that Punk buck shot of MOTORHEAD, and the preservation of the magic that happened in the US Metal scene in the 80s, displaying similar qualities of METAL CHURCH and VICIOUS RUMORS just to name very few. And lest I forget, the album’s production, managed by Bart Gabriel, gave the songs the right push to sound no less than classic Metal in the present. An aspect that its richness couldn’t be ignored.

“Swimming The Witch” seems to me like the album’s major interest. An epic tune, running in the same vein as IRON MAIDEN’s 1984’s prospect “Powerslave” mixed with early MERCYFUL FATE, yet minus the catchiness. This is more of an occult storyteller rather than your larger than life memorable song, nonetheless, it is in great quality. One of its contributor is no other than guitarist John Marshall (ex-METAL CHURCH) who composed the intro along with playing the first lead guitar solo. “Slave in Hell” is a scorcher, IRON MAIDEN meets debut period of METAL CHURCH, joined in a fierce classic Metal battle, including a solo duel between the band’s skilled guitarists. “Exhumed For The Reaping” is a solid in steel reminiscent of the band’s late 80s Speed / Thrash Metal period, right before jumping in the gory pool of Death Metal. However, you may want to think about it as an IRON MAIDEN on speed. A solid deadly track that is constantly energized. “Circle the Drain” delivers a Punkish oriented MOTORHEAD along with a crunchy early METAL CHURCH vibe, creating an energetic track that chops hard, a protector of the old flame. “Certificate of Death” is for certain one of the album’s heaviest songs, a sort of a dazed storyteller, somewhat catchy, slightly diverse than most tracks of the album, bearing a C part that is well written.

I deem “Wrath of the Reaper” as a good comeback. Never expected a breath of fresh air, but I still have the feeling that this is not all that his band can unleash from their burning minds. Whether an 80s Metal fan or not, this is an album that shouldn’t be missed.  
Purchase Link: High Roller Records

3 Star Rating

1. Macabre Procession of Specters
2. Screaming Sacrifice
3. Slave in Hell
4. Swimming The Witch
5. Dark Void of Evil
6. Unraveled
7. Voices
8. Exhumed For The Reaping
9. Circle the Drain
10. Wrath of the Reaper
11. Certificate of Death
Eddy Vega - Vocals
Dan Watson - Guitar
Bobbie Wright - Guitar
Mike Horn - Bass
John Shafer - Drums
Record Label: High Roller Records


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