Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Introducing the Band Hexen
The United States has had few good thrash metal bands since the beginning of the 2000’s. Hexen was one of these bands. Their 2008 debut album called State of Insurgency is an example of such as good of an album. That is not to say that they were as good as Germany’s thrash metal bands. But for US standards they were pretty good. Lyrically, the band focused on politics and social issues.
How Does the Album "State of Insurgency" Start Out?
The first song called "Blast Radius" has some sound effects that are like a bomb blast. In the song, the bass line is audible and the melody starts, creating a nice contrast. What comes to my mind as I listen to this song is that in the movie Speed, the main actor in the movie (Keeanu Reeves) is attempting to prevent a bus from being hijacked and taken over. The plot in that movie is similar to what is being described in this song. Anytime a population is being threatened, taking back their country and restoring freedom is a fight that they cannot afford to lose.
Some Information About the Vocalist and Bassist Andre Hartoonian
Andre Hartoonian was the bassist and lead vocalist and he is of Armenian descent. System of a Down was the first such metal band to have any members of Armenian descent that I know of. Andre’s weakness as a vocalist is that he relied too much on aggressive, harsh shouts and he did not really use any low vocals on this album.
Song Reviews of Past Life and Mutiny and Betrayal
Hexen disbanded in 2013. The melody present in the album State of Insurgency is very impressive however, Denver Colorado based band Havok is a better US thrash band. The song "Past Life" is about the pain of life on Earth. In life, there is both pleasure and pain but sometimes the pain for the very depressed person becomes too much to handle. However, the favorite song of this writer on the album is the one called "Mutiny and Betrayal" which has lead guitar work that Megadeth has used to their advantage in their long career. The US has had good bands but its heyday or strong points were in the decades of the 1980’s and 1990’s.
"Mutiny and Betrayal"
Review of the Song Chaos Aggressor
The song called "Chaos Aggressor" starts out with a nice Fates Warning influenced progressive metal acoustic guitar part before getting heavy. The song brings attention to the fact that many in the United States are destined to harm others because of their severe mental issues. Should the United States government take the blame for this epidemic of violence that has rocked the US? Mental health issues should be addressed otherwise the same crimes will keep on occurring. Even when people like the late Timothy Mcveigh were put to sleep permanently, there have always been new evil men that have committed horrific crimes. The band brings attention to the social problem of violent crime to raise awareness that this issue must be properly addressed.
The Song Called "Chaos Aggressor"
Final Thoughts About the Album "State of Insurgency"
"Seditions in Peacetime" starts out with some melodic guitar before getting heavy as Andre shouts once again. The main strength of this album is the use of the melodies to make it sound like a progressive thrash metal album which is what it sounds like. One example of this is in the song "Chaos Aggressor" when the beginning sounds very similar to something Fates Warning would write. The song called Desolate Horizons would see the band further expand on this progressive sound adding a touch of early Lacuna Coil style guitar work while also adding their own kind of speed to the song.
The song "State of Insurgency" is fast and sounds like a Slayer influenced song. The album is good overall and it is probably the second time I’ve listened to the album all the way through. The last song "Outro" has guitar that sounds very progressive in nature yet it is also classical in terms of its style. Therefore, I hear a Fates Warning style influence in this song and something they would have written around 1994. For a progressive thrash metal album the progressive influence is probably overdone and these guys cannot ever be as creative as Kreator, Holy Moses, or Mokoma. Even so, this debut album from these guys from Glendale, California are pretty good!
State of Insurgency
Rate the Album State of Insurgency
A Map of Glendale, CA and the Surrounding Areas the Birthplace of Hexen
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2017 Ara Vahanian