Released: 2008, Old School Metal Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
HeXeN from Los Angeles, have relatively quickly become one of the most promising forces in the sky of thrash metal. The band impressed me a great deal on their two previous demos, FROM CRADLE TO THE CHAMBER and CINDERS OF ZARATHUSTRA (both were released in 2007), so I honestly had pretty high hopes for their debut release on the US-based Old School Metal Records.
HeXeN´s STATE OF INSURGENCY, the band´s 2nd album, isn´t a letdown album at all either, on the contrary. In fact, I consider this album to be one of the finest new thrash albums of the genre since thrash metal started to make its strong resurgence some years ago, when dozens of new bands were born out of this 'new coming of thrash' (Warbringer, Bonded by Blood, Evile, Fueled by Fire, Gama Bomb, Mantic Ritual, ToRmenTeR, etc. etc. etc.). HeXeN cleverly spice their old school-tinged Bay Area thrash with the dynamics of Swiss thrashers Coroner (coincidence or not, but they also covered Coroner´s “No More Color” in this release), and the result is darn amazing in my opinion to say the least.
What you get on STATE OF INSURGENCY, is 12 songs (+ outro) in 56 minutes in length – with an enviable dose of amazing solo work, killer shredding, splendid riff madness, great bass lines, lots of thought out variety in song structures - and overall a kickass package of truly skilfully played thrash that doesn´t pale in comparison to some of the most classic albums of the whole thrash genre. Every time I decide to give a spin to HeXeN, it makes me feel really good about all these new thrash bands that surely give their very best for borrowing the throne of thrash on their own albums.
In fact, everything on STATE OF INSURGENCY reeks of greatness of thrash – that sub-genre of metal I have always loved the most. There´s been only a small fistful of new thrash bands thrashing their way straight to my heart during this Millenium that have been capable of giving me so much joy on their albums as HeXeN does. Without even predicting the future much for them, I´m absolutely very positive the thrash world will hear much more from these talented Cali thrashers in the coming months and years.
A fair warning about STATE OF INSURGENCY is in order, however, I think. If you decide to pick this brilliant thrash album for your listening pleasure (which is more than very recommended), be careful to not hurt your head while you´re headbanging your brains out from your skull. At least you have been warned now...