Welcome back home Steve! After the several bands established by Steve Zetro Souza when he was out of the latest Exodus' line-ups, he's back with a partial family thing (his two short-haired sons deal with the rhythmic section); Kosta Varvatakis and Miguel Esparza cover the guitar duties, but don't have prejudices about his sons being in the band; just like Van Halen in recent times (the first case I'm recalling), they do deserve to be in this group; something whoever may agree with when analyzing their performance in the ten tracks of the Bay Area five-piece's debut album.
While the cover and the artwork deal with the musicians as being prime heroes defending the origins and the unrenounceable values of the smalltown rural USA in a war scenario (a metaphor), the lyrics tell of a murderer, school killers, hitmen, the time to die, global jihad suicidal terrorists, human blood used for baths, a soul-devouring demon and revolution; while some detractors may object they're not original at all, and neither is the music, I must say they're intelligent and well-written words, and as to the music there's never been any intention but of delivering the toughest, tightest and most intense Thrash metal, without caring if there're similarities with the Exodus material.
Exodus on steroids and a hell of axe solos then, as immediately shown by "Suicide Run", a song created just to drill your skull by the vocals and drums, together with a few Slayerisms.
Obliterated by the opening riff of "Weapons of Class Destruction", we're overwhelmed by piercing vocals reminding the good ol' times of "Fabulous Disaster"; a composition like this is embellished by Juan Urteaga's amazing production displaying metallic bass notes at their finest, exploding snare-drums and lively kick drums, and how not to mention the stunning guitar solos of the two heroes, each one with their distinct style!
Lovers of the early Megadeth gonna go crazy on hearing the beginning and some drum patterns of "Murder American Style", while the rest might make you think of a memorable jam between Exodus and Overkill.
The brutal drumming of "Blood Stained Wings" is the one of many Death metal bands due to the typical blastbeats guaranteeing the needed dose of lasciousness to my ears encased in a Thrash metal context with Steve bringing himself to the extreme and a reinforcing chorus in the vein of ultra-traditional Thrash metal. One more mission accomplished.
I'm having a grin fancing about the impact on the crowd of a song such as "The Violent Times of My Dark Passenger", that rich in nuances, with Souza sr. giving his best low, middle and high vocals, while the Testament axe solos and the volley-of-stones drums complete the picture masterfully.
While the refrain-enriched "Globicidal" proves that time hasn't changed Souza at his core and that the solos are one better than another, "And Your Children To Be Damned" contains great choruses, devastating stop and goes, the best riffs of the record and drums leaving you no time to take breath crwoned by a magic Kataklysm/Cannibal Corpse-like blastbeat. It's so irresistible that it's no surprise whatsoever that it's been chosen to be accompanied by an official video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5R71IOQCp0). I don't always listen to this song, but when I do, so do my neighbors!
More machine-gun drumming, atomic riffs and showy licks and solos of the best Bay Area Thrash period are the main characteristics of "The Mechanics of Annihilation", whereas "Shadows of the Buried" is remembered mostly owing to effected vocals overdubbed before the unforgettable refrain; superb is the final thrashy structure after the usual two skillful guitar solos, too.
The title track is a bit shorter than the other songs and is lavish of Thrash choruses and keeps the same pace all the time, closing "Heroes of Origin" in a deign manner.
If you love primeval Thrash metal, you cannot not love this jewel from start to finish, period.
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - April 5th, 2013