Hirax: Immortal Legacy

Californian thrash originals still determined to leave their mark

Why you can trust Louder Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

While Hirax remain an obscure thrash name, they were pioneers of the Californian scene as contemporaries of Metallica and Slayer. Time and events may have left them behind, but if you crave uncomplicated, primal thrash, Immortal Legacy is a breath of musty, potent air.

Led by vocalist Katon W De Pena, the last original member, they hit high-speed momentum on Black Smoke and scarcely let up.

What makes this work is the communication between Katon, whose vocals are more in the power metal vein, and guitarist Lance Harrison, who matches brutal riffage with sophisticated solos. He even gets to show his softer leanings on the instrumental Atlantis (Journey To Atlantis).

The album moves along at a head-clanking rate but nothing ever sounds rushed or pushed too far. Quality songs like Victims Of The Dead, Earthshaker and Deceiver really bring back thoughts of thrash’s 80s heyday; Hirax represent that spirit better than most of their peers.

Malcolm Dome

Malcolm Dome had an illustrious and celebrated career which stretched back to working for Record Mirror magazine in the late 70s and Metal Fury in the early 80s before joining Kerrang! at its launch in 1981. His first book, Encyclopedia Metallica (opens in new tab), published in 1981, may have been the inspiration for the name of a certain band formed that same year. Dome is also credited with inventing the term "thrash metal" while writing about the Anthrax song Metal Thrashing Mad in 1984. With the launch of Classic Rock magazine in 1998 he became involved with that title, sister magazine Metal Hammer, and was a contributor to Prog magazine since its inception in 2009.