Picture of Heathen

Breaking the Silence

Heathen - Breaking the Silence ©1987 Combat
1. Death By Hanging
2. Goblins Blade
3. Open The Grave
4. Pray For Death
5. Set Me Free
6. Breaking The Silence
7. Worlds End
8. Save The Skull

Bands like Heathen seemed to have all the elements necessary to make it big. They were part of the fertile Bay Area thrash metal scene and even got their start a bit before the movement got totally out of control later in the 80s. No one can doubt their playing ability. However, despite their pedigree and relative vicinity to highly successful acts, Heathen never did quite get out of the gate. Despite all that, Heathen were one of the many bands who basically couldn't write interesting songs.

Breaking the Silence is an exercise in one or two okay ideas being repeated throughout the album. It does feature one pretty good track ("Goblins Blade") and one fairly amusing cover (Sweet's "Set Me Free"), but the vast majority of this record is flat and bland. The aggravating part is that the guitarists seem like they should be capable of more and occasionally whip out some impressive solos and leads. However, that's like having a jar of really good spicy mustard and claiming you have a gourmet sandwich based solely on that. I originally bought this album back in around 1989, when I was all about thrash metal and was less picky. But even then I still had little use for this particular record.

Heathen spent most of their career having associations with other acts. Exodus' Paul Baloff nearly became their vocalist and ultimately Lee Altus joined the reformed Exodus as their guitarist. However, it's safe to say that there's not a whole lot of need to explore their debut as it is the epitome of mediocrity dressed up in good playing skills.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 09/2010

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