Label: Massacre Records
Release date: February 12, 2013
While Steve “Zetro” Souza has never really left the metal scene, Hatriot feels like a return for the singer nonetheless. One listen to “Heroes of Origin” and I’m reminded of the title to one of the records Zetro did with his former band, Exodus: Impact is imminent. The album hits hard, and drives the rage home withe relentless aggression. Not that this comes as much of a surprise as we got a taste of the album with the band’s four track EP last year. The full record simply extrapolates the blistering attack over 10 full tracks.
Zetro has in effect created a present-day revitalization of his early Exodus years. First there is his voice, which is as unique as ever. That ability to deliver brutal and seething vocals that can also be clearly understood is a rare trait that Souza has long been a master of. Then there is the dual guitar attack of Kosta V and Miguel Esparza which equates to a modern day version of Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt. Kosta “V” Varvatakis channels his own mad creative song writing genius, giving Steve his long needed songwriting partner. Then there is the rhythmic battery of Steve’s sons Cody and Nick, on bass and drums respectively. Neither got the gig simply because of their last name. Both had to prove their metal mettle. “There’s no nepotism here,” confirmed an adamant Zetro during our 2012 interview.
The album starts out at break neck speed on the aptly named “Suicide Run”. The pace rarely relents during the album’s 44 minutes, and when it does it’s not for long. So strap in for there is no leaving the pit once you enter. Beyond the speed and Zetro’s trademark vocals, the one thing that stands out on the opening track is the fabulous pyrotechnic fretwork and inspired soloing: Another element which carries forward throughout the record.
“Weapon’s of Class Destruction” is one of the tracks fans got a sneak peek at last year. Tight riffage, a rumbling bass, and propulsive skin work set the stage for Zetro’s vitriolic lyrical attack. The barrage continues in scathing form on “Murder American Style”.
The tempo slows almost imperceptibly for “Blood Stained Wings” but there is no capitulation of the caustic onslaught. As pit worthy a thrash as anything you’ve heard in years.
“The Violent Times of My Dark Passenger” is one of the album’s more intriguing adventures. Zetro channels his own inner Dexter, and we find in the mix a surprising dose of “gulp” melody. Another scorching guitar solo here on what is easily one of the album’s most brilliant tracks.
Another of last year’s taster tracks, “Globicidal” is, relatively speaking, one of the albums slower songs, but also one of the heaviest. Zetro is equal parts ferocious and maniacal.
A nice rolling riff kicks off “And Your Children To Be Damned”, another old school dance of sonic savagery. The band even incorporates some death metal chants later in the track.
“The Mechanics of Annihilation” is the third and final track from last year’s demo to appear on the album, and is packed with dynamic and memorable riffage, a reminder that while there are three guys named Souza in the band, it is the twin guitar fretwork of Kosta V and Migual Esparza that are going to keep the fans engaged.
The album’s longest and slowest track appears in the form of the atmospheric “Shadows of the Buried”. Well the lack of speed is short-lived but the oppressive ambiance trails the song from beginning to disembowelment.
Closing it all out is the toxic hurricane of the album’s title track. As furious as the album began, so it ends.
Hatriot has encapsulated with its debut album, “Heroes of Origin” a neoteric rendering of classic Legacy and Exodus. The band adds occasional blast beats and even death metals elements in places, but stripped down this is retro Zetro, with a twist. “Heroes of Origin” is one of the early thrash highlights of 2013, and an album that could plant a flag in many a year-end best of lists.