Hexx made some great albums back in the day, their first two in particular ‘No Escape’ and ‘Under the Spell’ closing that chapter with ‘Quest for Sanity’. Later changing from their power metal roots, they evolved into a harsher death/thrash inspired outfit with a different line up for ‘Morbid Reality’. For this new record, we are back to what I consider their best period, the traditional and power metal style.
When l get a hold of such comeback albums, I’ve find I always look for previous references. It wasn’t until I had a few listens I could separate the past with the present, thankfully it’s all positive to report. The first trio of songs are modern traditional/power metal, the vocalist change is strong and powerful. But when you get to ‘Swimming the Witch’ this is where the wrath of the reaper really flexes its muscles and starts to shine. ‘Dark Void of Evil’ may have you thinking of Priest’s ‘Touch of Evil’ for the main riff, but it’s very dark and mysterious overall. A similar stance encounters you for ‘Voices’ then the speed increases for ‘Exhumed for the Reaping’. The album’s title track is an awesome power metal assault. It’s very reminiscent of the ‘Under the Spell’ era and here and now sounds refreshing an exciting. I can’t criticise the release, there’s some fine material here, and I for one am really pleased Hexx have returned. I might also mentioned the cool artwork for this album, something I feel the band have always done, they present their material very well.
Phase III of Hexx, as the band state where they are in terms of line up’s, is a cracking return, a strong release but not without moments that make you listen to them or the album more whilst searching for conclusions. I say this as it is not an out of the box re-hash of their earlier career. You have to grow as the band have clearly grown. The new line up is great at what they do, Eddy Vega is a strong vocalist and well suited to the new material.
‘Wrath of the Reaper’ is a perfect continuation of the Hexx legacy, well represented and strong enough to compete in the modern metal world.
(8/10 Paul Maddison)