Received a PM from one of the DJ’s of the radio program Metal Mayhem at Fusion Radio stating they had done a review of our album The Mirror’s Face. Big thanks for the review! The original can be viewed HERE!!!
Hero’s Last Rite – The Mirror’s Face
Staff Reviews – The Mirror’s Face
Clocking in at approximately fifty-four minutes, Hero’s Last Rite’s sophomore effort The Mirror’s Face is full of relentless energy, determined creativity and a great tribute to classic thrash bands like Testament and Slayer. The New Brunswick five-piece are composed of vocalist Steve McDonald, the axe men duo of Tim Gorman and Mike Davidson, Paul Vidal on the bass guitar and Dan Rogers on drums. Despite being already well known in the New Brunswick metal community, this sophomore album seems charted to attract an even wider audience to their very pure and driven thrash style. The album opens with the title track that introduces the album with an anthemic harmony driven march that seems more reminiscent of a metalcore style. Yet, just before the two minute mark Hero’s Last Rite falls into the rhythm that they will be remembered for. The opening two minutes of The Mirror’s Face is a strange curveball that leads first time listeners to question the genres that Hero’s Last Rite operate in. However, the end of the riff-ilicious “Generation Why” would’ve put all questions about this band’s style put to rest.
What really makes Hero’s Last Rite stand out in the contemporary scene is their extremely authentic roots in traditional thrash metal. Being primarily rhythmically driven and seamlessly transitioning through different tempos within each song, the band exhibits a particularly raw and stripped down sound that harkens back to San Francisco Bay Area garage jams in the 80s. At the same time, vocalist Steve McDonald’s vocal delivery is a fitting one in contemporary metal. Blending different styles of harsh vocals with the higher more punkish rasps, the vocals add a lot of character to Hero’s Last Rite’s sound by easing the incorporation of death metal and punk elements.
The production of the band’s album exceeds expectations of a band that comes from a relatively humble background. The mix accentuates the meatiness of the guitar riffs, making each song’s main riff stand out by giving them identity. Though the bass sometimes gets lost in the mix, the bassist’s efforts for the most part remain audible in contributing to the wholeness of their sound. The guitar solos are those expected of thrash metal, whining whammy bar abuses that wouldn’t be out of place in Slayer and dissonant shred runs are dressed over the songs with purpose and intention. Though technically the solos sometimes leave a bit to be desired, they are not by any means below par but rather stand out in comparison to the band’s overall high standard of cohesiveness.
Perhaps the most complimentary of Hero’s Last Rite’s traits as demonstrated by The Mirror’s Face is their cohesion and consistency. From the point of descent into thrash after the two-minute mark of the title track, to the closing notes of the final track; the band exudes great chemistry in the delivery of their songs. Every song seems to exemplify their tightness as a live act and through the studio renditions of the songs one can only imagine the energy generated from Hero’s Last Rite on a night where they are playing their best. Many of these tracks would be great to hear in a live setting, and the pace of the album is well maintained for its 54-minute playtime.
Perhaps a personal criticism is in fact the album is too consistent, though the band delivers each song with panache, the opening two-minute mark also seems to be the only deviations from a very calculated sound. At the same time their delivery of pure Thrash Metal should not be considered a hindrance, Instead, The Mirror’s Face could easily be a one and a half or two albums worth of material. As mentioned before, each song has enough distinction from one another to stand for them, making them good for isolated listens. But with 54 minutes of playtime, there is less inclination to listen to the album in full.
Overall, Hero’s Last Rite’s The Mirror’s Face is an extremely competent album, one that not only charts the band’s great potential to grow, but one that reveals a healthy yet subtle scene in New Brunswick. Though the album is a bit longer than desired, the large amount of consistent material the band delivers on their sophomore effort highlights a deep pool of creativity to draw from in future efforts. We are most definitely excited for more.
Highlights: Generation Why, Plague, Mechanism, The Voice of Guilt.
Yesterday as I came out from the woods for more beer and some food, 15lbs lighter from blackflies, mosquitoes and deer flies taking my blood, I received an email from a new fan from Vermont. Up until yesterday he had never heard of us. However, he being a follower of Metal-Rules.com, he found this review and after buying both our CD’s wanted to tell us about it.
Big thanks to our new Vermont fan and Aaron Yurkiewicz at Metal-Rules.com for the love!!!
As this is a new review and they are adding new ones, the link to the original keep changing. But we will post it later. However, you can go to METAL-RULES.COM and choose the link or view it below.
Matt Coe of Metal-Temple.com give us some love in this review.
“The Mirror’s Face should serve a dual purpose in attain a wide following – there’s enough punishing action for the newcomers to slam away while also giving the old schoolers a reminder of what made the Power/Thrash movement so thrilling and exciting in the early to mid-1980’s.”
Original review HERE!!!
Recently Black Sabbath made a stop in Eastern Canada visiting Halifax and then Quebec City. Half of the people I knew went to Halifax while the other half went to Quebec City for the concert. I love Halifax but I understand why many of my hardcore metal friends made the pilgrimage to go see the godfathers of Metal play in Quebec City; one could argue that it is the metal Mecca of North America. I missed both shows but I did see them on their Farewell Tour in 99 in Vancouver. One of the cool factors about Black Sabbath playing in our backyard recently is that the Farewell part of my concert never actually happened. Why? Because Pop music, like the soft drink, fizzles out overtime. Heavy Metal bands happen to be aging like fine wine. There has been an astonishing amount of successful reformations of classic metal bands, and in many cases, these bands are producing their best output in years. Considering the relative young age of Metal as a genre, I was surprised to see at the Black Sabbath concert three generations of fans sharing an incredible experience together. Metal is the Blues of rock n roll. It is not that hard to consider when listening to the bluesy riffs of classic Sabbath tunes. Heavy Metal has a huge spectrum of sub genres and styles but at its core, it’s the music of the working class. It has roots in dark escapist fantasy, wild parties, kinky sex, hard living and most importantly – it is a culture of acceptance. Enter, Hero’s Last Rite’s new album The Mirror’s Face.
The members of Hero’s Last Rite are seasoned veterans who increasingly get better and better, album after album, they continue to push themselves. These guys have produced their best recording to date, their strongest collection of songs by far, while SPEEDING things up at the sametime. I mean, this record is FAST. It is as if the band simultaneously channelled the 80s Bay Area thrash scene – I can hear some of Exodus’ aggression and some Testament vocal stylings.
Steve McDonald is my favourite front man to see play LIVE. A true entertainer who has an uncanny ability to work the crowd. He owns the stage. The challenge for a great live band like Hero’s Last Rite, is to be able to replicate the LIVE sound in a studio recording. McDonald manages to do just that; his performance on The Mirror’s Face sets the tone of what is simply one of the best Metal releases this year. Tim Gorman and Mike Davidson share axe duties on this record and both of them provide plenty of memorable riffs and solos. Paul Vidal’s bass embeds the hooks on I Am Automic, especially during the breakdowns, or the crushing groove/doom found at the beginning of What I Long For? While the guitars and bass provide a thrashy nostalgia on many of the albums tracks, Dan Rogers’ technical, precise drumming has more similarities with technical death than old school thrash. Rolling fills, machine gun double kicks, and blast beats abound, Roger’s manages to hold it all together.
The songs range from hard rocking anthems, technical death, and late 80s thrash. Old school thrash fans will be happy but there are just as many contemporary influences on this album. Blind Eye Compromise is what would happen if Gojira jammed with 80s Slayer. There maybe some obvious classic references that can be heard in some tracks but then there is the moody blackened intro on Blind Eye Compromise that turns into a Slayer infused onslaught of brutality and speed. These guys are on fire. Save it For My Ghost maybe the hidden gem on the record, being that it is the last song and all, the Morbid Angel tremolo picking with insane dissonance has me hitting repeat. The guitars swarm like a sky full of killer bees. When Gorman and Davidson playoff each other during the harmonic passages, the band is firing on all cylinders. The Plague maybe my personal favourite and possibly the heaviest track on the album with its borage of blast beats, brutal riffs, and borderline hardcore vocal assault.
Metal in particular benefits from really good drum production. Nothing is worse than drums being buried in the mix. On the other hand, overly clean production can really hurt a metal recording. It needs to be a little dirty. Drummer Dan Roger’s produced and mixed the record and it is a noticeable improvement over the previous album Inevitable is The End. The mix was a little too muddy for me but The Mirror’s Face finds the perfect balance between clear and dirty tone. My only complaint would be that the bass is buried at times within the sonic chaos. I would like to hear Vidal slap the bass on the next record. Overall, this is a great sounding record that would benefit from a vinyl release…just saying.
Hero’s Last Rite is an appropriate name for a band of this stature and musicianship. They have just put out an amazing album that I believe is an Instant Classic in the local Metal canon. But most importantly, these hard working group of guys have just released their magnum opus of heavy metal. The Mirror’s Face requires multiple listens and it needs to be heard…LOUD! Highly Recommended