Hero's Last Rite
The Mirror's Face
Released: 2014, Self Released
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Few things feel as genuine as the simple pleasure that comes from unpretentious, balls out thrash metal. It’s a quality that New Brunswick’s Hero’s Last Rite seem to understand implicitly on their sophomore full length, THE MIRROR’S FACE. I straight up GUSHED about their 2010 debut INEVITABLE IS THE END, and rightfully so; that album was in no uncertain terms a thrash metal extravaganza. But as good as that album was, THE MIRROR’S FACE bests that debut every way imaginable. Harder, meaner, faster, better, THE MIRROR’S FACE knocks you down, kicks you in the gut, takes your wallet, and you’re ultimately a better person for it.
Save for a faux melodious introduction to the opening title track, THE MIRROR’S FACE wastes zero time on pleasantries or cuddling. Riffs, riffs, a punch to the mouth, more riffs, and vocals spit from a serpents tongue are all that you’ll get here. But FUGGGHHH, if ever there was single track worthy of compelling an album purchase, it’s “Generation Why”. Almost a spiritual successor to “Bonded by Blood”, this tune made me want to drop what I was doing, go on a 2 mile sprint and punch every pedestrian I encountered in the mouth. Maybe that’s a bit extreme, but so is this track. “Viral Judgement” echoes old school sentiments of Testament and Overkill, while “I Am Atomic”, “Realign”, and “Save it For My Ghost” hint at more modernized tokens of the thrash scene (hello Randy Blythe, hello Gothenburg). But it all gels amazingly well, with each track feeding into its successor without skipping a beat or losing any momentum. It’s 54 minutes of head nodding, circle pit inducing, fist banging mania.
Long story short. this album is EXCEPTIONAL. Hero’s Last Rite understands what their audience wants and gives it to them buffet style. THE MIRROR’S FACE is almost a full hour of unrelenting, uncompromising thrash metal glory that worships at the school of old while rejecting the urge to sound nostalgic or rehashed. If you’re a fan of the thrash and/or are looking to throw your hard earned shekels towards one independent artist this year, Hero’s Last Rite is definitely a band you should get familiar with quickly. THE MIRROR’S FACE hits all the sweet spots you could ask for and then some, you won’t be disappointed.