El Rostra de la Muerte
Style: Speed/Thrash
Release date: November 3rd 2009

Starting off back in 1984 under the leadership of vocalist Katon W. De Pena (their most distinctive character and the band's only original member, who's a part of the current line-up), the band played in Los Angeles and San Francisco with the other new thrash metal bands of the area such as Metallica, Exodus, and Slayer. The band was a clear example of the thrash/speed metal/crossover genre. They never got the status of the other 3 bands and so De Pena left the band in 1989. After that they quit, but in 2000 De Pena re-united Hirax in the original line-up. This didn't last long and all the other members quit again.


On this fourth album 'El Rostro de la Muerte' (The Face of Death) there is again a completely different line-up. What's still left are the tight, fast and heavy speed/thrash songs. After 3 songs you can hardly breathe and if they would continue in the same tempo it would even become boring. But fortunately "Chaos and Brutality" is a bit slower/heavier track. On this record Hirax makes a kind of musical mix of early Whiplash and early Overkill combined with Slayer riffs and aggression. Listen to a song like the title-track and you will get the idea that you are listening to an Overkill song. Even De Pena sounds as Blitz. "Death Militia" begins with sounds that remind of Slayers "Hell Awaits", after which it becomes a fast and sometimes groovy speed/thrash song. 


Now I have come to the only negative point; De Pena himself. He has got an aggressive singing style, but after a while there is not enough variation and it gets a bit boring. But all in all, this is a nice and very fast and aggressive grenade. There will be many pleased thrash fans that can estimate this album at value. And the beautiful cover is of course created by legend.... mail me if you know his name.


01. Baptized By Fire

02. Flesh and Blood

03. Eradicate Mankind

04. Chaos And Brutality

05. El Rostro de la Muerte

06. Blind Faith

07. Horrified

08. Battle of the North

09. The Laws of Temptation

10. Death Militia

11. Broken Neck

12. Violent Assault

13. Cuendo Cae la Oscuridad

14. Satan's Fall

Label: Selfmadegod Records
Distribution: Cyclone Empire
Artwork rating: 90/100
Reviewed by:

Reinier de Vries

Date: November 24th 2009
Website: www.myspace.com/hirax