Album Review: Heathen – Empire of the Blind (Nuclear Blast)

Bay Area thrash legends Heathen are back! With their new album, Empire of the Blind, picking up where the group’s vaunted trio of full-lengths—Breaking the Silence (1987), Victims of Deception (1991), and The Evolution of Chaos (2010) left off. It will be released on September 18th 2020 via Nuclear Blast.

In the case of Heathen, time seems to have strengthened them and given them serious impetus to not stick exclusively to the thrash playbook. The end result is Empire of the Blind, a modern thrash classic that thrills across 12 (including an intro/outro) tracks.

Although it is with hard hitting thrash metal that Heathen announce themselves with The Blight and the title track. Admittedly after a pretty grand intro in The Rotting Sphere. It’s all about speeding riffs, grinding squeals and thick percussion though. Heathen bringing the heaviness with impressive aplomb and in no way letting their time away dampen their spirit.

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Try and deny the urge to head-bang along to Dead and Gone or the vicarious groove of Sun In My Hand. The latter an early examination of the variety that exists on this album. Happily there’s more to cast the ears over but first it’s up to Heathen to cast their eyes to the rhythmic punchy past with Blood To Be Let and the furious assault of drums and riffs that erupt from In Black.

It’s time for something impressively different with Shrine of Apathy as Heathen continue to showcase their variety with very grand metal ballad. Before it becomes a race to the finish with the frantic energy of Devour, A Fine Red Mist and The Gods Divide.

The short melody of the outro, Monument to Ruin, bookending the album perfectly.

In the case of Heathen, this is a return to be proud of. In the case of listeners, this is a return to be proud to hear. Heathen have proven without a shadow of a doubt that their legendary status only grows more and more with releases like this.

Heathen – Empire of the Blind Full Track Listing:

1. This Rotting Sphere
2. The Blight
3. Empire of the Blind
4. Dead and Gone
5. Sun In My Hand
6. Blood To Be Let
7. In Black
8. Shrine of Apathy
9. Devour
10. A Fine Red Mist
11. The Gods Divide
12. Monument to Ruin


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Heathen - Empire of the Blind (Nuclear Blast)
  • The Final Score - 9/10
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