Hexlust is an American death/thrash group hailing from the great state of Texas. Although the band has been around for about a decade, their first full-length record, “Manifesto Hexcellente”, arrived earlier this year. Enemies of modern thrash should not fear, however, as this album is very true to the old-school Texas thrash sound (one which was consistently more aggressive than many of their other American peers). The riffs on this release would not be out of place on records by Torture, Gammacide, Devastation, or any other number of local thrash bands. Gammacide is also a great comparison for the lead playing, which is incredibly chaotic and gives the tremolo bar an extended workout, but still has the ability to be melodic when necessary.
Hexlust’s vocal approach is designed to complement the insanity of the music. Though the first and last tracks open with a high-pitched scream, the singer spends the majority of the record barking out lyrics in a gruff tone, which brings comparisons to swifter bands like Sadus. This is particularly evident in the most potent track on this release “Toxic High”, where words fly out at unfathomable speeds. The rhythm section on this album does manage to shine more than in other thrash bands. While the production makes the guitars sound quite heavy, it does not let them take all of the low-end, meaning that the bass is audible. In general, it tends to support the rhythm guitar playing, but the sheer speed and tenacity of it is impressive. Likewise, the drumming is built around keeping the tempos high and the energy flowing. There are moments, however, where the drums take the spotlight, such as towards the end of “They Conjure”, which gives the band’s drummer an opportunity to unleash every fill in his arsenal.
On the whole, “Manifesto Hexcellente” is an interesting release because it successfully channels the spirit of the late 1980s thrash scene, when bands were becoming more extreme but without fully transitioning into death metal. There are still numerous elements on this release from the more extreme subgenre, but ultimately, Hexlust root their sound in thrash metal. The band’s songwriting isn’t entirely up to par with some of the aforementioned groups (particularly Torture and Gammacide), but it is above average, particularly when it comes to death/thrash. For this reason, “Manifesto Hexcellente” is a release that needs to be in your collection!
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3.8/5 or 76%.
Written by Scott