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Monday, March 21, 2011

CD Review: Hemoptysis - Misanthropic Slaughter

Hemoptysis - Misanthropic Slaughter
2011 Hemoptysis
Ray Van Horn, Jr.



First, on behalf of Hemoptysis' Masaki Murashita, a note of continued respect and well-wishes to Japan for healing and recovery through its ongoing trials following the horrifying earthquake and tsunami...

I don't have hunches too often, but in this metal revival, I always go back to Trivium when I first met the band before they signed with Roadrunner Records and became stars of this scene. I'd seen hunger and passion when Trivium opened for Iced Earth many years back and while the old school power heads wrote Trivium off at that gig, I'd approached Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu in the parking lot with the prediction they'd make their mark.

You can hear it when a young band really wants it. Fortunately for me in my position, you can also tell who is in it, not so much for the glory, but because they're way onto something and they must be heard.

Only their non-mainstream-friendly artwork on Hemoptysis' EP and now their debut album Misanthropic Slaughter will keep them in the underground. It sure as hell isn't their sound keeping them from reaching a wider berth of fans, nor is it the group's relentless press wrangling. I can vouch, as Hemoptysis has long been politely tapping my shoulder's shadow for attention, and they damn well deserve it. For an unsigned band, Hemoptysis might be the hottest metal act in desperate need of a showcase. Check out this band's roll call of endorsements and you'll wonder why Hemoptysis isn't sitting on a roster list next to Amon Amarth or even Daath.

When you recruit a Grammy-award-winning producer to your first full-length, there's only going to be so much longer the words "independently-released" will remain applicable. Ryan Greene (Megadeth, Alice Cooper, NOFX) shows his moxy and takes on an up-and-coming death-thrash-power hybrid and as a result, Hemoptysis' Misanthropic Slaughter freakin' rules.

Seriously, this album is a smoker and one as much for the thrash mongers as for the trad heavy metal purists. Shredding, moshing, freefall soloing (and tightly-secreted soloing as well), NHOBHM riff structures, double hammer, ralphing yet decipherable vocals, there's very little Hemoptysis omits from Misanthropic Slaughter, so do not miss this trip.

This band has quickly evolved from their debut EP from a couple years back. Masaki Murashita and Ryan Miller may very well have staked a claim as the tag team shred duo to beat in 2011. Everything they do is cohesive, crisp, clean, poignant and frequently articulate. Be it the decorative solos and chugging riff train on "Blood Storm" or the extensive Iron Maiden-esque intro to the piledriving crush of "M.O.D." (as in "merchant of death," not Milano's merry moshers), Hemoptysis is all pro. The opening picks of "And the World Dies," "Hadephobia" and "The Cycle" are pure metal. Check out the trade-off solo section on "And the World Dies" and the flawless thrash bursts on "End of Sorrow." The bar is well-raised, everybody.

Speed and aggression fuels Misanthropic Slaughter, but it's the band's canvasses of power artistry that makes it a mandatory listen. "Hopeless" is largely an old school headbanging paradise with bursts of increased tempo and it comes on the heels of the brief vintage Metallica slides opening the speedy title track. However, "Misanthropic Slaughter" largely rips out some classic Whiplash (as in the cult thrash band, not Metallica's halcyon jumping bean) and Dark Angel. Though "Shadow of Death" is grossly stripped in production, it hurls a rugged smack in the puss at times reflecting Priest, in others, Amon Amarth. Ditto for "Hadephobia," even if the production is far more spot-on.

Travis Thune is a maniac behind the kit and has the propensity to kick into overdrive on a whim, while his rhythm counterpart Sunao Arai delivers a hefty platform for his front line shedders to go berserk as they see fit. Arai not only keeps pace on the demanding curves of "The Cycle," he leaves a note-hungry imprint upon it. On "Hadephobia," Arai is practically the star with his insistent groove. The taste of Asiatic homesickness comes via the soothing "Interlude," but overall, Misanthropic Slaughter is one tough juggernaut of educated metal guaranteed to satisfy headbangers of any generation.

Misanthropic Slaughter is the good side to DIY. I personally will admit to a lot of kvetching about how the shift in trends to the hands of any ol' artist with access to tech can get in the game, which leaves a lot to be said for the need of quality control. In the case of Hemoptysis, however, DIY is the linchpin to potential greatness. Trivum started their mission with Ember to Inferno and has blossomed into young gun sovereignty as of 2008's Shogun. Though much heavier than Trivium, for Hemoptysis' purposes, the mission statement is loudly stated with Misanthropic Slaughter.

I have a hunch, folks...

Rating: ****1/2

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