Already out, HeXeN's latest effort Being and Nothingness is bound to rock your world if you are the thrashing kind. Although this is only their second album, they are a fairly experienced band who operated in the underground for year before the release of their full-length debut State of Insurgency in 2008.
And this experience really shows in the music on Being and Nothingness which essentially take thrash metal as its base style and which has the aggression and energy that characterizes the genre – or that should, in my opinion, characterize the genre. However, rather than brutally thrashing everything to hell, like a lot of bands do (which is fine, of course), HeXeN have injected a massive dose of energy into their style of thrash metal, which also has an air of sophistication and a very slight touch of progressiveness (most prevalent in the epic closer 'Nocturne'). This results in massive melothrashers such as 'Defcon Rising', 'Private Hell' and 'The Nescient', and virtually all tracks on the album feature technically advanced guitar solos, and there is somewhat of an influence from Chuck Schuldiner which is ubiquitous on the album – just check some of the riffage in the two former tracks and in 'Grave New World'.
But this does not mean that we are dealing with 'weak' metal, because, as mentioned above, there is plenty of aggression, and all of the uptempo thrash tunes on the album feature furious classic style thrash metal riffage, which creates a nice contrast and tension with the melodic parts – as in the case of 'Walk As Many, Stand As One' which features the same insanity as heard in early Sacred Reich (combined with some heavy Teutonic-styled riffage though). The vocals are harsh throughout, which further gives a feel of death-thrash plus the band makes effecient use of blastbeats that pop up every now and then.
Although harsher, I think that Being and Nothingness should appeal to fans of the likes of Death Angel and Anthrax as well as fans of German speed metal. Death fans and perhaps also to fans of melodeath should also find this album appealing. In any case, HeXeN remind us that you can make thrash metal which captures both aggression and melody without compromising either element.
(review originally posted at seaoftranquility.org)