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The downfall of thrash, at least for me, was the glut of "me too" bands that crawled out of the woodwork in the late-80s/early-90s. Too many new signings promised to be the "next big thing". I can't blame the bands though; I would have done the same. No, it's the labels that sense a new trend and hunt relentlessly for similar acts in an effort to wring your pockets dry. I like this new wave of retro-thrash, but there is a real danger that those same mistakes will bleed the genre dry again. However, we're not quite at that stage yet and so, with great delight, I have the opportunity to review 'Awaiting Evil' by Hatchet. Immediately, I was thrown off-guard as 'Darkening Skies' drifted wistfully through the speakers. It reminded me of those great acoustic-instrumental intro sections bands used to do so well. This doesn't outstay its welcome though, and 'Frailty of the Flesh' leaps out and threatens to slap you silly with its typically retro flavour. Hatchet themselves describe their sound as reminiscent of Testament and Iron Maiden. Personally, I don't hear the Testament influence. However, the spirit of Paul Di’Anno, and a little smackering of Gene Adam, is there in the vocal work of Marcus Kirchen. Musically, it's a pick'n'mix of Overkill's raunchy early punk-thrash madness, and a little bit of the Gene Adam-era Iced Earth dancing around the solo breaks and mid-sections. Perhaps if Vio-Lence had played slower in their early days, you could draw comparisons with them too. Perhaps. Anyway, there may be a little of the sense of fun, which has become synonymous with this rebirth of the thrash of late, missing from Hatchet's opus. I don't mind that though; it could have been Hatchet's downfall had they bounced, unnecessarily, into that territory. No, here we have a sense of menace, not overtly evil however, that Meliah Rage and D.A.M did so well in their heyday. I like this album. It's not groundbreaking; and it's not supposed to be. It's honest thrash, the way it used to be done. Before the 3rd tiers and below arrived. Good stuff.
Metal Blade Records
Review by Steve Cowan
26th May 2008
1) Darkening Skies
2) Frailty of the Flesh
3) Sealed Fate
4) Frozen Hell
5) Attack Imminent
6) Morlocks Tomb
7) Storm The Gates
8) The Dead Will March
9) Awaiting Evil
"...here we have a sense of menace...that Meliah Rage and D.A.M did so well in their heyday."