Thursday, September 14, 2017

Hazzerd - Misleading Evil

Record Label: World War Now

Just a few years after releasing their "Victimize the Innocent", (which the band themselves have uploaded on Youtube here and bandcamp here),Canadian four piece thrash metal band Hazzerd are back with their debut album, "Misleading Evil".

Hazzerd's full on thrash assault is of the Bay Area variety. The vocals share the spitting razor blades style of Exodus' Steve Souza and at times comparisons to Chuck Billy of Testament could also be made but the Souza stylings are much more prominent. Musically Hazzerd also look towards those bands beginning with the full on assault of "Tendencies of a Madman", which has some tasty guitar leads towards the end of the song. "Absolute Destruction" starts with a little guitar noodling then transforms into destroying thrash with some background gang vocals that can't help but bring "Fabulous Disaster" to mind although the background vocals aren't utilized on the Hazzerd tune to the same extent. In fact, "Absolute Destruction" changes path into an instrumental as the song reaches its conclusion. While the singer still sounds like Steve 'Zetro' Souza on "Execution of the Damned", the all-in parts are more reminiscent of "Practice What You Preach" era Testament. The contrast works in Hazzerd's favour but the complaint here is this track comes to a seemingly abrupt ending.

The album's title track "Misleading Evil" is a seven and a half minute instrumental that soars and thrashes although it really should have been snipped as it drags as much as Metallica's lengthier material. However, here's my major point of contention, it's difficult not to consider that naming the album after an instrumental track was a big mistake. An album title that gets stuck in your head due to a catchy chorus is a much better choice, eg: "Master of Puppets", "Fabulous Disaster", "Practice What You Preach", "Number of the Beast". It's difficult to imagine a world where thrash metal fanatics talk about Metallica's "Orion" album as a classic.

The intro to "The Fallen" is similar to Metallica''s buildups when they were on top of the thrash metal heap. The vocals are still very much in the Exodus mould but they're not a major part of this track, which instead features an abundance of guitar noodling and drum pummeling. "Under the Influence" is no holds barred thrash and it's easy to imagine smiles on both the band's faces and audience members as a moshpit goes crazy just in front of the stage.

The vocals take a slight turn on "Apocalypse Dawn" with the type of high pitched shriek that many a traditional band used to favour but thrashers can relax as thankfully this style isn't stuck with throughout. There's a definite Iron Maiden influence at work here (especially with the finishing "The Trooper" wooohooo vocals) although Hazzerd play much faster than those lazy old farts. Album finisher, "Road to Nowhere" thrashes a a whiplash inducing pace for a while but slows down to a basic rock drumbeat a little after the four minute mark allowing the drummer to catch his breath before the trashing commences again. A Kirk Hammet style guitar solo follows which once again which really means the song is too long and would have worked better if the band had cut the fat and the tune had come to an end around the four or five minute market instead of pushing for Metallica style excess.

As Hazzerd appear to be a young band, it will be interesting to see how they develop their sound as Hazzerd are definitely on top of their game on headbanging tracks like "Under the Influence" and"Absolute Destruction", so the songwriting skill is there. It just needs to be honed further to stand out in the retro-thrash crowd.


Hazzerd on facebook

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