Games Meet Metal: Hirax's Noise Chaos War: The Riff Review

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hirax's Noise Chaos War: The Riff Review

Let's set the way-back machine to my metal incubus, a.k.a. 1989. It was the first time I heard Metallica's One, and was forever corrupted. Needing more metal goodness, I searched the airwaves and found Headbanger's Ball. Joy! More metal to fill my eardrums with! It was here that I discovered more of the greats outside of the big 4: Testament, Exodus, Metal Church, Cannibal Corpse, Gwar. Such a veritable feast! And boy, did I dig in. Any metal band that was new to me became food for my ears. It may of made me bloated, but I sure enjoyed it.

Strange, as my hunger was, that Hirax seemed to avoid me.

Born out of the L.A. and San Francisco thrash scene, Hirax are students and now masters of the old school thrash meat scene. They've toured the world, had big record deals, broke up, reunited, and have scores of fans worldwide. And yet, I had only been introduced to them recently. I now beat myself over the head with blunt objects, as Hirax embodies a lot of what I love about the old school: Piercing vocals, hundred-miles-an-hour drums, expert guitars, and no fucking around.

Noise Chaos War can be considered the perfect introduction to the band. It's a collection of three demos the band have released over the years, treated with some remixing as well as some re-recording. With the ep's combined, you can get a sense of the band as a whole: their grittier side with Walk With Death,  their blast beat hooks with Broken Neck, and their pure musicianship with the instrumental 100000 Strong. Also, lead singer's Katon W. DePena's vocal styling was hardcore long before the term metalcore was overused. A quick look at their bio shows Katon's appreciation for old school D.R.I., so it's nice to hear the man's inspiration so heavily in his vocals.

About the only real complaint that I can take away from this collection is that the best track of the whole thing, Walk With Death, gets repeated a few too many times. Each time is different, be it a remix or a re-recording, but it gets a little tiring to hear the same song again and again.

In the end, Noise Chaos War can be considered a good primer for Hirax's career after their reunion. they're older, but wisenedand can still ring the thrash metal fury. Now, how about bringing that fury to Michigan, huh? You can get your own copy at Hirax's home site, Black Devil Records, or at Seasons of Mist's online store.

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