"Noise Chaos War"

(Season of Mist)

"Barrage of Noise" EP:

01. Murder One
02. Barrage of Noise
03. Walk With Death
04. Broken Neck
05. Jade
06. Mouth Sewn Shut
07. Beyond the Church
08. French Pearl

"Chaos and Brutality" EP:

01. Chaos and Brutality
02. Walk With Death (re-recorded)
03. 100,000 Strong
04. Lucifer's Infierno (reprise)

"Assassins of War" EP:

01. Lucifer's Infierno
02. Summon the Death Dealers
03. City of the Dead
04. Invasion
05. Assassins of War
06. Bombs of Death (live video)

RATING: 8/10

There are few metal journeyman that continue to work so hard for so little year and year and still manage to wake up every morning with the sole intent of devoting 100 percent effort into writing, recording, and/or performing the best thrash metal possible. That is Katon W. DePena to a "T". The road has been a rocky one, but these past several years in particular have seen HIRAX gain and maintain some much-deserved momentum and recognition, thanks to a tireless work ethic, lots of gigging, and some damn fine thrash metal albums, such as "The New Age of Terror" and "El Rostro De La Muerte" that drip with the kind of raw energy missing from so many "modern" thrash releases. The same can be said of a slew of EPs released on several different labels in several different territories, including "Barrage of Noise", "Chaos and Brutality", and "Assassins of War". Those three rough diamonds now see release for worldwide consumption on a single CD called "Noise Chaos War", remixed and remastered for maximum audio intensity.

The short of it then is that "Noise Chaos War" is a great way to get a hot dose of some of HIRAX's highest intensity work without having to search for three separate EPs. Furthermore, the band's bullshit-free form of high voltage electrification is found here with a satisfying degree of variety, though generally within a thrash metal framework. One might expect that from an album that combines three separately released EPs, but in the case of "Noise Chaos War", that variety comes with some surprisingly enjoyable instrumentals (acoustic and electric), the occasional trad-metal nod and/or focused approach ("Assassins of War"), and the effective inclusion of different versions of "Walk with Death", one of the band's best and catchiest tracks.

But mostly "Noise Chaos War" is a thrashing incendiary device, as best demonstrated by the extreme aggression of "Lucifer's Inferno", "Mouth Sewn Shut", "Barrage of Noise" (one explosive minute) and "Broken Neck" (another classic, memorable cut). DePena's wild-eyed enthusiasm courses through the album's metallic veins, his vocals often reminding of Zetro (EXODUS) and in one inflammatory case enriched with a little Bon Scott on "Murder One" (think of the late AC/DC front man's performance on "Riff Raff"). Throw in a live performance video of "Bombs of Death" and you've got yourself another reason to get down with HIRAX…and stay there!


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