Hatework - Thrash 'n' Roll 2004 Beer City Records reviewed by: EC
1. I.D.T 2. Thrash 'n' Roll 3. XXX 4. Heaven's On Fire 5. Devil Eye 6. I Don't Care 7. War Again 8. Gateway To Hell 9. Radio Madness 10. Get Off 11. Blast From Below 12. Rip The Hush
General George Patton once said, "Go forward until the last round is fired and the last drop of gas is expended...then go forward on foot!".
I think that simple line is the philosophy and inspiration for Italy's Hatework. With the group's second album, "Thrash 'n' Roll, Hatework have embarked on the ultimate test of fortitude, to exhaust all physical and mental energies through most of the twelve ferocious metal romps here, then run on pure adrenaline the rest of the way, never stopping, never giving in, exploding from the trenches hellbent for glory in their attempts to deliver the best goddamn metal album of recent memory. Indeed, "Thrash 'n' Roll" is every bit worthy of the effort put in, easily the best album of 2004, and a serious contender for best album of this millenium, strictly in my own opinion of course.
With the trio's sophomore effort, and first for Beer City Records, Hatework have created the perfect thrash album, featuring all of the genre's trademarks, from scorching solos and rhythm to the battering double bass footwork. One could think of legendary acts like Motorhead, Razor, and early Metallica when playing the blistering, power thrash sounds of these Italians, but I almost feel that this three piece could possibly be the combination of Venom and Anvil, with vocalist/bassist Max sounding like Cronos at times with his gasoline-soaked delivery, and the Canadian "speed of sound" section of drummer Lo and guitarist Marco. The end result is one of absolute astonishment, with Hatework feeding the fire with twelve furious metal tracks, each of which surpass anything new being put out right now by a "so called" thrash band.
"I.D.T" (Italian Drinking Team) opens the album out with a fast approach, bringing to mind the sounds of Belgium thrash legends Killer with their over the top spill, hearing singer Max out of control, just screaming this beer-soaked metal anthem for all its worth is simply worth the price of admission. The record's title track, "Thrash 'n' Roll", is a rip-ride of tight precision, with drummer Lo all over the kit here, letting up only to catch Marco in soaring solo stance mid-way through. "XXX" is one of my favorite cuts, with the opening riff very much like Jag Panzer circa 1984 with its catchy hook and fist-in-the-air chorus.
"Heaven's On Fire", and "Devil Eye" just simply kill, reminding me of Razor or Destruction on controlled mode. "I Don't Care" stops for a quick run through punk-metal, while "Radio Madness" is almost Voivod in nature with its quirky vocals. Again, all twelve tracks here are excellently crafted, with each song standing out on its own, but still blending together to create a good, solid metal listen from start to finish.
Hatework's new album is comparable to the group's debut, "Madbent For Disaster", but with much more improved production values. The debut was self-financed, and saw a brief stint on Witch's Brew before disappearing to obliveon. Now the three-piece is back with more maturity and a more focused approach on arrangements and hook. The speed is still there, mixing in the sounds of Kreator, Destruction, Sodom, Venom, Anvil, Razor, Killer, and Motorhead, with a better production budget, and hopefully, more promotion from Mike and the Beer City crew.
This is certainly not an album that needs a handy skip button, as "Thrash 'n' Roll" can be put on any time, any place, among any choice of metal fans. The speed metal merchants will eat this up, the thrash fans will think its the second coming, and the power metal geeks will headbang to metal instead of opera, which is certainly a great remedy for most Europeans lost in transition. If Hatework could see the same exposure as bigger "so called" thrash bands like Exodus, Testament, and even today's version of Slayer, it could very well be "Garage Days" all over again.
This album is pure perfection, and I can't wait until the next record to see how they can improve. Maybe I should adopt my own Patton philosophy instead...
"If a man does his best, what more is there?"
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.
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