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Hatchet – Awaiting Evil

Label: Metal Blade
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Hatchet have become part of what many consider to be the New Wave of Bay Area Thrash and I can tell you that these young California dudes can very well be earning their spot. Just by looking at their skull and crossed hatchet logo and comic book style artwork one can almost tell by the visuals that the music there in will be nothing but a nod to the 80’s. These guys are even wearing Iron Maiden, Slayer, Evil Dead (the movie), Exodus, and Judas Priest t shirts in the booklet pics.
Songs off the debut “Awaiting Evil”, like “Frailty of the Flesh” ignites the pit with the riffs lifted from the Gary Holt (Exodus) template, and “Sealed Fate”, are just modeled out of those arrangement ideas constructed by the classic Bay Area movement lead by godfathers Exodus, Testament, Forbidden (in the opening instrumental “Darkened Skies”), Death Angel, and Violence. Speaking of Maiden earlier, you can really hear their influence in some of the twin guitar harmonies found throughout the album. Listen to those backing vocals for “The Morlocks Tomb” and tell me that’s not Exodus and something that can be found on the “Bonded by Blood” album.

Hell, even the production has the conventions the 80’s thrash records had, not overly bass heavy or compressed. There is plenty of space within the recording. The vocals are also delivered in an old school thrash fashion with snarl, sarcasm, clarity and attitude. A little bit of influence from Germany and (the Triple Thrash Threat which also includes Kreator and Sodom) Destruction’s frontman Schmier surfaces on “Frozen Hell” and “Attack Imminent” in Marcus’ brief squeals.

“Awaiting Evil” is a solid debut with plenty of good ideas to work from. Hatchet are off to a good start. Let’s see if they can take what has begun on “Awaiting Evil” and bring it to the next level of songwriting and sound.
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