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November 2011
Released: 2011, Unsigned
Rating: 3.0/5
Reviewer: Erich

Sydney Australia’s Hazmat had their beginnings back in the nineties, but their self-titled debut album is only now being promoted as the band has finally established its current lineup. Hazmat is the latest band to enter the thrash revival sweepstakes, opting for the mid-paced style of 90s thrash bands Mordred and the oft forgotten Meliah Rage. This style is actually a nice departure from the countless bands that have recently opted for the speed of Kreator and early Sepultura without any sense of heft (Gama Bomb anyone?). However, it would be a mistake to characterize Hazmat as only thrash, as there are plenty of elements of traditional American power metal fused with Maiden harmonies.

Lead track “Intro” quickly announces those Maiden harmonies before transitioning into “Wings Of The Devil”. It is on this track that we get our first taste of Jay’s vocals, which are remarkably similar to Mordred’s Scott Holderby, crossed with Rob Cavestany, a gruff but discernible and well annunciated style of singing. Somewhat surprisingly, the bass also gets some attention in this tune, refreshingly not merely relegated to simple mimicking of the guitar. The band has a cool retro vibe as well, best discovered on “Blue Murder”, with its 80s style hanging power cords and a simple but compelling main riff. Lead guitarists Duck plays in a traditional melodic style, electing to discard the lazy and unmelodic solos of say, Slayer for something more compelling. Production wise, the band sounds pretty good despite being unsigned and there are a number of neck wrecking worthy moshes. With so many positives, there are only few minor quibbles I have namely, that some songs lack ferocity or energy and come across as somewhat vanilla like “Hate For Me”. Also, at 14 songs and nearly an hour of music, some editing could have been done as things seem to go on for longer than they should.

For the most part though, this is a worthy and respectable album that will please fans of late 80s and early 90’s mid-paced metal. I would not call this amazing or unique, but it is well-executed and committed to its style, which provides a foil to the hyper-thrash revival bands popping up at such an alarming rate. Hazmat would have fit well as one of those unknown bands that appeared on Headbangers Ball circa 1990 during the final hour. Crack open a cold one and enjoy a return to metal’s commercial golden age.
Track Listing

1. (Hazmat)

2. Wings of the Devil

3. Blitz Attack

4. Life

5. Extinct

6. Unnatural Selection

7. Snake

8. Blue Murder

9. Hate for Me

10. Shadows

11. Split Trust

12. Repressed

13. The Judge

14. Ragged Bloody Heroes


Jay - Vocals/Guitar
Stu - Bass/Vocals
Duck - Guitar
Caine - Drums/Vocals

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