Hatchet - Fear Beyond Lunacy - (9/10)
Published on October 11, 2015
Hatchet erupted on the thrash scene with their debut album Awaiting Evil, garnering both critical acclaim and a seemingly diehard fan base at the same time while almost immediately putting them on the thrash metal resurgence map. Despite the strength of that debut, Hatchet has only gotten better with time, tightening the screws of their execution and song writing skills. This allows their third album, Fear Beyond Lunacy, to reside as their best record to date. Taking the strides they made on their previous record Dawn of the End, Hatchet further trim any excessive fat for a lean, mean thrashing machine.
If you are already familiar with Hatchet, then it’s a pretty foregone conclusion that you are going to be familiar with what Fear Beyond Lunacy has to offer. In many ways, it’s a continuation of what the band was firing on their previous record. However, where Dawn of the End added layering and strengthened cohesion of writing, it occasionally came across as a bit too overthought at times which pulled away from the fun and energetic outpour that made the debut so impressive. Fear Beyond Lunacy suffers no such affliction. It’s still as layered and tight in its execution of performance as we’ve heard Hatchet become, but the album simply hooks the listener better. It’s a trait that instantly makes the record memorable and effective from the first spin.
It’s not like Fear Beyond Lunacy is doing a lot of experimentation with the sound to increase the impact of their thrashing for the listener. While many of Hatchet’s peers like Havok, Warbringer, and Essence have already begun to expand their sound and inject new influences into their modern thrash foundations, Hatchet simply writes and produces a more operative pure thrash album. The riffs on “Killing Indulgence,” the NWOBHM inspired melodies that wrap around “In Fear We Trust,” or even the more effective snarling vocals that spike in shrill screams on “Living in Extinction,” everything simply works better as a whole than on their own – which is a sure sign that Hatchet are on fire as a band with this record. It’s the kind of cohesion and writing skills that bands three times their age still struggle with from time to time.
Fear Beyond Lunacy is Hatchet thrashing bigger, badder, and better than they have ever sounded. The key to this success lies in the band’s ability to instantly hook the listener and then build that sense of auditory trust by having the layers of melodies, riffs, and energy to keep them hooked beyond the first few spins. Even though Hatchet exploded on the scene with a strong debut, it’s their continued drive to produce better music that will make them outlive many of their thrash resurgence peers…and Fear Beyond Lunacy is just one more album in crafting that legacy.