A Time of Crisis is the second full-length album by US thrash metal act Heretic. The album was released in 2012. Heretic number amongst a host of bands that have been releasing albums within the last couple of years that were originally about in the eighties, only to break up after a relatively small number of releases. In Heretic’s case their original career saw them release an EP, Torture Knows No Boundary (1986) and their debut full-length, Breaking Point (1988). A Time of Crisis features an almost entirely different line-up to that prior album, with only guitarist Brian Korban performing on both releases, although A Time of Crisis does also see the return of vocalist Julian Mendez who performed on the EP.
Although Heretic are described as a power-thrash band, their music is most firmly rooted in the thrash metal genre, although I also hear plenty of slower paced elements that put me in mind of traditional heavy metal. It’s a nice mix that is about in balance with each other which resulted in a very focused release from the band. Thrash metal has never typically been my thing, although of late I’ve started to find a new appreciation for the genre with the recent releases from artists such as Teramaze and Prototype. Heretic is another band that I can add to my list of thrash bands doing something what I once would have considered unlikely to happen, making an album that that I can not only acknowledge as the work of a skilled and talented band, but also one that I can enjoy on a more personal level. An early track, Tomorrow's Plague, was all it took for me to get engrossed in the sound that Heretic has to offer.
There are twelve tracks on the album, bookended by a couple of shorter instrumental pieces that serve as an intro and outro respectively, although in this case the outro track, Let Me Begin Again, is actually a little bit longer than the band’s self-titled song, Heretic. Generally speaking though we’re talking average length and to the point thrash metal songs that clock in around the three-four minute mark, with only Remains passing five. It is a simple (by modern standards) but affective approach that allows Heretic to cram in their mix of thrash and classic metal riffs, topped off with fast lead guitar which is pretty dominate in the mix when they hit, and Julian Mendez’s raw, pure thrash style vocals. It’s not, admittedly, the most original take on thrash metal I’ve come across, but it is a damn good one all the same, with Tomorrow's Plague, A Time of Crisis and The End Of The World being counted among its best songs. A great album tier rating is deserved.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))