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.