Hazmat – Atonement
OUT: April 1st, 2016
HAZMAT Line up:
Jay (Lead Vocals/Lead Guitar)
Duck (Lead Guitar)
Six years on from their 2010 debut self-titled album, Sydney four piece Hazmat have just dropped Atonement. From the opening track ‘The Theatre’ their influences are front and centre. I had to check more than once that I wasn’t listening to a batch of unreleased Megadeth tracks. Whether intentional or not, vocalist Jay’s phrasing is just a little too much Mustaine for my comfort. On the second track ‘Spineless’, we hear more of the real Jay’s vocal ability with a straight out balls-to-the-wall thrash track, including galloping guitars and some nice time changes.
With third track ‘Confront’, Jay Mustaine rears his ugly head again, but musically it has a nice groove and crunching riffs. Sold follows on with a social commentary on the state of the economy, dealing with the nightmare of being up to your eyeballs in mortgage debt and big business pulling the strings. Lyrically it’s a great track and my highlight for the album. Running at 8 minutes 26, title track Atonement starts by slowing the pace. It’s complex, has plenty of time changes to keep things interesting, and is dark and heavy as hell. Stu’s bass playing really shines.
The second half of the album kicks off some commentary on social media with ‘Social Mediocrity’. The intro includes a sample of an old school dial-up modem connecting to the internet (or is it the sound of Malcolm Turnbull’s NBN)? Like the rest of the album it’s musically hard to fault, although lyrically it’s a little clunky. Caine’s machine gun double kick drumming is in full swing throughout. The social commentary continues on the seventh track Sucker Punch, dealing with the scourge of cowardly one punch attacks. Someone should send this to Danny Green – it could be his new theme. Heading into the tail end of the album, straight out thrasher ‘Bad Blood’ has Jay and guitarist Duck thrashing out big crunching riffs while tackling more politically sensitive issues.
The penultimate ‘Burden Of Proof’ continues in a similar vein as the rest of the album: a straight out thrasher taking a lyrical swipe at religion; all fairly standard stuff for the genre. Lyrics about death, murder, mayhem and crooked Sydney cops round out the ten track album with ‘The Dodger (New Murder)’.
Overall Atonement is a good solid thrash album and doesn’t try to be anything else. Hazmat have a good base to work from and they can only grow from here. They walk (and sometimes cross the line) between influence and imitation, and therefore takes away from the overall enjoyment of what could be not only a great Australian thrash album, but a great album full stop. For the cost of a couple of bourbon and cokes it’s worth adding this one to your collection.
I give it 5 ½ banging heads out of 10
- The Theatre
- Social Mediocrity
- Sucker Punch
- Bad Blood
- Burden Of Proof
- The Dodger (New Murder)
Written by Gareth Williams