Is it possible for a band to get better and better with each passing release? Because that’s exactly what HATCHET seem to be doing. Dying To Exist (out now, Combat Records/EMP Label Group) is the group’s fourth full-length album, and man oh man is it GOOOOOOOOD!!! Fueled by the twin guitar attack of vocalist Julz Ramos and Clayton Cagle, bassist Devin Reiche, and drummer Ben Smith, the band is clearly on a mission with this one. Dual harmonized guitar leads abound, while the songs make you want to drive through a storefront and terrorize everyone inside. One of the best things about HATCHET is that they play pure, unadulterated Thrash Metal, and they play it RIGHT.
Album opener “Genocide” shows the proof in this pudding while “Desire For Oppression” is the stuff headbanging and mosh pits are made for. Holy fuck, the latter is simply AMAHHHZING!! “Illusions of Hope” shows how well Reiche and Smith work together, as you can not only hear the bass , but also tell they’re the glue holding this one together. Oh, and speaking of bass, can we discuss Mr. Reiche going off for “Warsaw”? I’m not gonna lie, this one is badass and might have given me a stickytip. It’s unlike anything they’ve done before and that’s what makes it so fucking cool.
“Where Futures Regress” is one of those tunes where you go, “Holy shit, we’re in for it now!” and that’s a good thing. Because if you aren’t sold on the album by this point, you need a check-up from the neck up. The guys are firing on all cylinders, and killing everything in sight! “Back Into Dust” immediately took me back to the 80’s era of Thrash and I couldn’t help but smile as the song played out. “Final Sanctuary”…wow. What can I say about a song that has killer grooves and riffs along with killer vocals? Oh, I think I just did.
Once again the Guitar Gods smile on Ramos and Cagle with “Descent Into Madness”, which is any budding guitarist’s dream to practice along with. As I said before, this is Thrash Metal done right!! “Hail to the Lies” was another album standout from the word go, as it should be. Once you plug in and listen, you’ll see why. Closer “World In a World” finishes this beast in very strong fashion, and puts the exclamation point on the record! At the end of the day HATCHET have undeniably released THE album of their young career with Dying To Exist. Elder statesmen of metal, take heed. These boys are coming for your mantle.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM