Hatriot - From Days Unto Darkness - (9.5/10)
Published on July 21, 2019
Thrash metal is my number one passion in life, and yet, the fact there is a thrash band led by Steve Zetro Souza’s son Cody has somehow slipped under my radar. Not only is there the family tie between these guys and the legendary Exodus, but these comparative newcomers (not real newcomers because…well…this is their third album!) have a much cooler moniker. Hatriot. Man, that’s badass and I love it. This is exactly the type of thrash metal I’ve been looking for in this year that hasn’t been blessed with as many thrash masterpieces as it has trad metal or power metal. From Days Unto Darkness is gritty, nasty and brutal – but laced with the maturity of a band clearly on an evolutionary path. Expect banging riffs and shredtastic solos, but also expect to pay attention and be rewarded. This is 52 minutes of thrash heaven.
Forgive my ignorance, but I’m having trouble believing these vocals aren’t Zetro himself! I’m sure the band will correct me if I’m wrong but either there is an insanely strong family resemblance, or Zetro has stepped in and is now sounding as revitalized as ever. Either way, the vocals are a big selling point of this record. The snarling, sneering and downright vicious main vocals are backed up, frequently, by meaty growls which are, quite frankly, irresistible. This dual vocal attack keeps every song fresh and really beefs up the sound when performed together. They’re also always decipherable, meaning the singalong factor is enormous – which is great when you’re a thrash metal band with many shout-along choruses and lyrics like these:
“Fuck you, you fucking fuck.
Worthless piece of shit.
Choke on lead and burn in hell,
You conniving fucking prick.”
Forgive my love of vulgarity, but that’s the most fun I’ve ever had screaming along with a metal band. And that’s just the second verse from the opening track “One Less Hell”. Sound-wise, the production quality on From Days… is stunning. So much power and modern clarity but still sounding raw and natural without resorting to over-compression. I especially love the chunky heft behind such chugging segments like the opening of “In The Mind Of The Mad”. As with most thrash bands, Hatriot sound their heaviest when slowing things down to a hulking groove. Track 2, and semi-title-track, “Daze Into Darkness” is a masterclass in how to achieve peak bone-smashing heaviness without compromising integrity. Occasionally reminiscent of Demolition Hammer’s “Human Dissection”, this is a grinding hammer of a song with pounding martial rhythms heavy enough to collapse bridges.
But of course, Hatriot are thashers first and foremost and I would be loathed to not mention just how well they can tear shit up. From ambient acoustic intros typical of the genre’s late-80s gems, to all-out speed metal assaults rife with blast-beats, screams and killer fretwork – From Days… has it all. Scream along with the ‘LIGHTS! CURTAIN! SHOWTIME!’ refrain in “Carnival Of Execution”; snap your neck to the 7-minute non-stop barrage of “Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed”; pump your fist to the punky verses and gigantic chorus of “Delete”; roar joyfully to some of the most satisfying lyrics to emerge from this style (‘Five! Six! Fuck your crucifix!’); and generally mosh around your room like it’s 1989. From Days Unto Darkness is the best thrash metal album of 2019 so far, no question. Even the mighty Flotsam & Jetsam and Overkill weren’t as refined as this. Go buy this beast as I delve into Hatriot’s first two records that I feel ashamed for missing.