HATCHET could not have picked a more opportune time to release their debut LP, "Awaiting Evil". The Thrash Metal revivalist movement is in full swing, and HATCHET will most certainly make their dent in this scene. "Awaiting Evil" is a time capsule back to the days when Thrash Metal was at itís peak. There is also an obvious punk flavour scattered throughout the music on this album, but not enough to ruin the technical precision therein. This is pretty much straight-up Thrash Metal in essence with an added dose of punk-inspired energy and fun.
The guitar riffs are typical Thrash Metal fodder; HATCHET doesnít do anything terribly unique or new here, and this is why they succeed. They have the old school Bay Area Thrash sound down to a science. Take "Attack Imminent" for example; the simplicity that hangs over the song coupled perfectly with an eccentric dose of passionate aggression makes this song reminiscent of "Kill ĎEm All" era METALLICA. HATCHET arenít doing anything remotely revolutionary, and there isnít anything wrong with that. They do what they do exceedingly well.
HATCHET also succeeds where a band like WARBRINGER falters. "Awaiting Evil" is laced with an underlying sense of melody missing from a lot of Thrash Metal bands. The harmonized guitar solos do wonders for songs that would have otherwise rendered themselves stale, and they proliferate any pre-existing energy tenfold. There are also plenty of melodic leads to compliment the aggression of the otherwise bombastic music. These two different sides balance each other out to create an vigorous entity.
The vocalist, despite having been given a hard time by critics for his performance on the bandís first demo, lends a lot to the punk-ish energy felt throughout. In his best moments, he sounds like Paul DiíAnno during his early days with IRON MAIDEN. His high-pitched wails sound identical to DIíAnnoís, and the bulk of his performance is similar to good olí Iron Di-Diís early work in many ways.
Iíve been trying to come up with something relevant to file in the complaint department for a while now, and Iím at a total loss. There isnít anything worth mentioning as far as negative aspects go. Unless the minor theme of repetition found in the riffs (which actually doesnít dominate the album as much as you might expect going into a throwback Thrash album) bothers the fastidious nitpicker in you, you should enjoy this album.
(Online June 20, 2008)