Released: 2017, Self Released
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
Consistently one of Canada’s best independent metal bands, Hero’s Last Rite is back with album number 3, WASTED PRAYER. It’s a more streamlined and concise version of Hero’s Last Rite than we’ve heard before, but WASTED PRAYER proves itself to be yet another set of winning tunes.
From the bouncing chug of the opening title track, it’s readily clear that the band has consciously opted to take a step forward from their more traditional thrash infused roots into more modern/groove oriented Lamb of God/Devildriver/Chimaira territory. That’s not all together a bad thing, but it does take a minute to acclimate your senses. But a good song is a good song however you package it, and good songs are something Hero’s Last Rite continues to have a solid track record with.
“Wasted Prayer” is stripped down, hard charging opener that trades speed for melody, but sacrifices none of the heaviness, while “Devilfinger” screams with over the top Jasta-like crunching enthusiasm. But towards the latter half of the album, you’re treated some real gems - “The Unforgiving Disease” sounds like it could’ve been written by Scott Ian sometime in the last couple of years; it’s got a convincing stomp to the main riff and some dissenting melodies riding against it. But we also hear vocalist Steve McDonald summon his inner Chuck Billy and belt out some soulfully clean vocals; it’s an attention grabbing moment, and you immediately question why he doesn’t leverage this more often. The closing “Human” revisits the clean vocal performance, rolls it gravel and delivers a heavy Southern-fried, Pantera-esque knuckle dragger of a tune.
Whether you’re familiar with HLR’s previous body of work or if this is your first introduction, chances are that you’ll find WASTED PRAYER to be a worthy contender. Regardless of your predilections towards classic or modern thrash, it’s a tight album with a full slate of catchy tunes that should satisfy both parties.