From CHSR: Album Review: Hero’s Last Rite
From CHSR 97.9FM Blog By Johnny James
If you thought Hero’s Last Rite had any soft spots left when it comes to their brand of extreme thrash, rest assure that their third-coming album, “Wasted Prayer”, has reinforced them all. Their ECMA winning album “The Mirrors Face” tore a strip off Fredericton’s music scene in 2014 and this installment of the band is back for the remains.
Kicking off with the album’s title track, vocalist Steve MacDonald embodies a god during an existential crisis, awakening those who rely on prayers to the reality that only they can help themselves. MacDonald’s sermon is backed by opening instrumentals that start off groovy but quickly sharpen to a rough edge of speed riffs and thunderous percussion. The frantic atmosphere carries into “Engage The Weak”, a track with a breakneck pace, devilish undertones and fuzz-filled bridge section; appropriate dressing for a song that ends with the numbers 666. Speaking of which, the next track, “Devilfinger”, is an anthem of Satanism, wrestling with the choice between turning the other cheek and taking a stand against one’s enemies. It’s lyrical content constantly pushes and pulls between both sides, with Dr. Jekyll eventually prevailing over Mr. Hyde.
With their dark side in the drivers seat, the band draws a firm line the sand with “Nothing Left” and “The Unforgiving Disease”. Entering a new tier of aggression, even the most melodic elements of their music receive a fresh coat of distortion to keep pace with MacDonald’s gutturals. Following this is “Trapped On Your Side”, which beautifully showcases both the cohesion of the band and their individual strengths. Guitarists Tim Gorman and Mike Davidson lay down some of the heaviest riffs on the album and Gorman provides his best solo. Bassist Eric Godin and drummer Dan Rogers meanwhile are locked in with performances that both complement one another and stand out with solos of their own.
The record concludes the way it began, with an existential crisis. The track “Or The One” tackles the moral quandary of what is more prosperous, the many or the few. The album finishes with “Human”, which brings forth the unpopular reality that it’s the worse things in life that fuel us to respond and act in the best way for ourselves.
It has been seven years since their debut album, and in that time Hero’s Last Rite has defined what it means to progress as a band. They have tamed their sound without losing any of their angst and have brought forth a clear and focused message in their lyrics. The band is standing comfortably on the foundation they’ve built and the sound that works for them, don’t expect this to be their last or their best.
Listen to the album here: