HEATHEN
Thrash Metal • United States

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Heathen is a North American thrash metal band originating from the Bay Area California, founded in 1984 by guitarist Lee Altus and drummer Carl Sacco. They have released two critically acclaimed albums, "Breaking The Silence" (1987) and "Victims Of Deception" (1991).

First Era (1984-1992)

Heathen was formed in 1984 by two friends, guitarist Lee Altus (who was a native of Russia) and drummer Carl Sacco (formerly of Metal Church). The pair later recruited lead vocalist Sam Kress and second guitarist Jim Sanguinetti. The band did not have a bass player in their early years, and this would carry on later when the band had notorious amounts of trouble finding a permanent bass player. This first lineup only played one gig in 1985.

Shortly after this first gig Sam Kress and Jim Sanguinetti (the later of which went on to form the funk-thrash combo Mordred) left the group and were replaced
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HEATHEN Discography

HEATHEN albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.81 | 7 ratings
Breaking the Silence
Thrash Metal 1987
.. Album Cover 4.14 | 9 ratings
Victims of Deception
Thrash Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 4.34 | 7 ratings
The Evolution of Chaos
Thrash Metal 2010

HEATHEN EPs & splits

HEATHEN live albums

HEATHEN demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Pray for Death
Thrash Metal 1986
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Demo with Paul Baloff
Thrash Metal 1988
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Opiate for the Masses
Thrash Metal 1989
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
2005 Demo
Thrash Metal 2005

HEATHEN re-issues & compilations

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Recovered
Thrash Metal 2004

HEATHEN singles (2)

.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Set Me Free
Thrash Metal 1987
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kill the King
Thrash Metal 1991

HEATHEN movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

HEATHEN Reviews

HEATHEN Breaking the Silence

Album · 1987 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Breaking the Silence" is the debut full-length studio album by US, California, Bay Area based thrash metal act Heathen. The album was released through Combat Records in May 1987. Heathen were formed in 1984 and released the "Pray for Death" demo in April 1986, which subsequently led to their recording contract with Combat Records. The original vinyl version featured 8 tracks, while the CD version features the "Heathen" bonus track.

The music on the album is "classic" US, Bay Area thrash metal albeit with a slightly more melodic sounding vocalist than usual for the genre. The riffs are fast and rhythmic, the drums pounding and there are some very well played lead guitar parts and solos in the music too. The material are well written and relatively catchy. Structurally the tracks are generally a bit formulaic with clear vers/chorus structures that are repeated, but that´s not unusual for the style. However it´s when they band break out of the formula like they do on "Open the Grave" and "World´s End" that they are most interesting. The remaining tracks are very enjoyable too though and even the inclusion of the Sweet cover "Set Me Free" works like a charm.

Heathen are a very well playing unit and the fact that they have a real singer instead of a more regular staccato shouting thrash metal vocalist, provides their music with an extra dimension. It´s mostly Forbidden I´m reminded of, but Heathen do have a sound of their own. "Breaking the Silence" is relatively well produced and overall it´s a pretty great Bay Area styled thrash metal album, and probably what most fans of the genre consider a "classic". A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

HEATHEN The Evolution of Chaos

Album · 2010 · Thrash Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Stephen
Heathen had been under the radar for quite sometimes after their last release, "Victims of Deception" in 1991, and with the overwhelming return of many of the thrash titans, they decided to come back with "The Evolution of Chaos", a new release in exactly 19 years. Before the completion of this album, Heathen actually had released a three tracks demo recordings in 2005 as a sneak peek to this long-awaited record and was met with positive appraisals by fans. And five years after that, I can say that this album possibly surpassed any thrash fans expectation that the new album will be in lower quality compared to their previous albums.

Started with a middle-eastern flavor overture, "Dying Season" opened big with a horse stampeding rhythm, unleashing the violent riffs onslaught, but not until "Control By Chaos" came up next that I found my first fave track. Empowered with classic Bay Area riffage and killer solos, this is the typical ordinary track that any thrash fan will love. The peak of the album is definitely on the 11-minutes epic of "No Stone Unturned". From the chugging intro that reminiscent of Metallica's "Sad But True" style, Heathen formed a wonderful Verse and melodic chorus. If you're not even a thrash fan will probably like this one easily. You will hear a lot of tempo change and later evolved to an even faster piece with Altus/Kragen beautiful guitar harmonies. Some other notable great tracks that I like here are "Arrows of Agony", "Bloodkult", and "Red Tears of Disgrace".

The sound production is awesome, David White's vocal was handled very well, looks like he's in an even better shape right now, Lee Altus' ultimate guitar play is perhaps the highlight of this album, but the strength of their songwriting is also applauding. A well-round release by an underrated thrash act, this one clearly deserved a perfect five stars.

Bottomline : The Evolution To Perfection

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