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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2008
The music industry can be a rather foreboding business to be involved in, but the most annoying part is how some untalented bands get lucrative recording contracts, whilst others that display incredible talent are left high and dry. With this statement, I am referring to the likes of American thrash legends Heathen, who undoubtedly were the most artistically talented band coming out of the San Francisco thrash metal movement in the 1980's. I am mystified as to how this band was overlooked for so long without getting the due attention and rewards they so rightly deserved. I am delighted to see that Century Media Records has taken the initiative to re-release the eponymous and sophomore albums, as well as adding a few demo bonus tracks to each of these albums. This has been a long time coming and I sincerely hope the metal community get behind this remarkable band, as these two classic albums best represent what thrash metal is all about.

Heathen's, `Victims of Deception' was originally released on the old thrash metal label, Roadrunner Records way back in 1991, but for me, this was a landmark album for many reasons. Some of the redeeming qualities on this release were the lightening fast tempo changes, the multifaceted song structures, peculiar time signatures, longer songs and some amazing and innovative guitar solos. If guitar riffing cuts close to your heart then Heathen are your band, as their approach is in favour of the twin guitar attack. I am yet to come across another thrash band that has the same riffing ability the way Heathen do it. For many thrash metal devotees, `Victims of Deception' has long been considered to be the most technical and progressively advanced album that was years ahead of its time. Even with a seventeen-year head start and by today's standards, this album is as good, if not better than anything that has come out in recent times.

During this period, the band comprised of Doug Piercy (guitar), Lee Altus (guitar), Darren Minter (drums) and David White-Godfrey (vocals). For the recording of this album, there was no permanent bass player so the band capitalised on the services of Blind Illusion's, Marc Biedermann. With Heathen's music, the lyrics have always been a strength of theirs as they vent their anger towards organised religion including other social issues that have an effect on us all. An example of this is the track `Hypnotized', which begins with a voiceover speech, delivered from the altar by the demented evangelist Jim Jones, ranting on about politics and religion. As the track fully begins the riffing is just sublime with White-Godfrey's vocals being as powerful as what we have come to expect from a thrash vocalist. As mentioned, the lyrics highlight the evils of organised religion by delivering a very poignant message in this regard.

Other standout tracks and for me the best song has to be the `Heathen's Song' which explores many different atmospheres and tempos, but is one great riff-fest that is interspersed with some remarkable solo work. This song does have an ominous Metallica thread running through it in places. `Kill the King' is a Rainbow cover version and has been done extremely well by keeping it as close to the original as possible, but just tweaking it ever so slightly to give that gritty Heathen sound. `Fear of the Unknown' starts with some eerie sound effects played over by an acoustic and bass guitar before the song crescendos to a full-blown pace. This is probably the most diverse song on the album from a tempo change point of view, but again the riffing is very hypnotic.

I believe there is a Heathen reformation on the cards at some stage, although a few years ago they did play several open-air dates in Europe. Lee Altus has primarily been the driving force behind Heathen, but over the last few years he has kept himself busy by affording his services to German industrial metallers, Die Krupp's, but more recently with seminal thrashers Exodus by replacing the departed Rick Hunholt. What is suggested is to purchase the remastered digital version instead of the original analogue version as the sound quality is far superior, due to the music been given a fresh 21st century production. `Victims of Deception' is a great album and should be mandatory in every thrash metal fans collection!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Heathen are a hugely underrated band, and for a long time this album was hard to get a hold of, thankfully now it has been re-released and people can once again discover the magic.

Hailing from Bay Area Fransisco like so many other great American Thrash Metal bands, Heathen came out a little late in the history of the scene, as a part of what later became known as the second wave alongside acts like Death Angel and Forbidden, and released two full length studio albums before breaking up for around a decade.

Victims Of Deception is the band's second release and 'Epic,' hardly does this finely crafted album justice, the record is an exciting and technically marvelous collection of fantastic thrash metal riffing, impressive virtuosic guitar solos and really strong Melodic vocals. Being an example of the genre's move towards progressive attitudes at the end of the Eighties and beginning of the nineties, the songs are often quite lengthy and complex, with lots of different sections to enjoy and many different ideas contained in each song.

Highlights include the fantastic 'Opiate Of The Masses,' and the epic closer 'Timeless Cell Of Prophecy.'

With an album as strong and confidant as this it is a real shame that Heathen never got as big as they deserved at the time, but having said this many bands came and went without releasing albums as strong and timeless as Victims Of Deception so it is lucky that as a listener you can even get a hold of such a strong and masterfully crafted album from such an underrated artist.

As a side note, the album features Lee Atlus on guitar, who Thrash Metal fans will almost all certainly recognize now in the revitalized post millennial line-up of Exodus. The album also features a fine Thrash cover of the Rainbow Classic 'Kill The King,' and singer Dave White fares admirably trying to cover the inimitable vocals of Ronnie James Dio.

Overall; Victims Of Deception is not your average Thrasher, it is so much more. Buy Now and you aren't likely to be disappointed. !
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 June 2012
Now I am a thrash metal addict. With over 500 albums, I thought I would have had all the best.....but not.
I bought this as a recommendation via Amazon and I am glad I did.
Released when thrash and metal was being overun by grunge in 1991, this was a grand way of ending an era.
After listening it to the first time, it reminds me of a cross of all the best elements of old skool thrash. Imagine combining Anthrax with Metallica, pre 1990's.
The songs in majority are epics, with real heavy mid to fast tempo riffs, and excellent corpse ripping guitar solos.
Overall I am mighty impressed to the point that it is not off my car stereo. this is one of those long lost gems, that has been sorely overlooked.
Buy it and you will not be dissappointed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
i did not know that this band existed until quite recently.i am amazed that they were not as big as metallica or megadeth.if you like iron maiden or similar bands,you will love these.great lyrics and creative guitar riffs.enjoy
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on 3 June 2014
Low rating has nothing to do with the band or the album. In fact it is quite an opposite, this album rules!
The problem is that this particular album is out of print, and practically it is impossible to get a new copy.Even for used CD expect to pay a lot. Last official reissue was pressed by polish record label in 2006 if I'm not mistaken.
Those two companies from Greece (cdwaisteland and cult metal, perhaps same crowd) selling import CD for 8 pounds? Yeah right!
Beware! I've got a copy, I did some investigation and every CD from major label has to have a SID code on runout matrix, which this "Japanese import" has none! Some spelling mistakes on CD itself, plus photo of the band has some dodgy orange shade.
I'm not an expert, but it looks like a counterfeit, albeit very well made.
My recommendation would be not to buy, but because of lack of information I cannot prove they selling fake CD's.
I hope amazon will do some investigation on this case!
P.S. I got my money back which I'm going to spend on an official CD version! Have a nice day!
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on 19 April 2013
Definitely one of top 100 thrash metal album of all times, a great album that never getting tired from it.
It is rare that the album is so long and still not simple boring on it, this album contain 64 minutes of pure thrash and huge fun.
Of course, it is Heathen best release even if it only the second to date.
Top track are: 'Mercy Is No Virtue', 'Opiate of the Masses' and 'Fear of the Unknown'.
The cover for Rainbow's 'Kill the King' is ok, not perfect vocals on there but still good.
Any thrash metal fan should own it, maybe one of the last thrash classic that came in the early 90's. Amust have!
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