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(Relentless Records)

The Bay Area crunch masters or better known as the Bay Area Metal gods have finally returned with a vengeance after so many years of silence. "Recovered" is still not the so much awaited comeback album from those geniuses but at least it gives us a chance to introduce something new to alternate between "Breaking The Silence" and the untouchable "Victims Of Deception". This nine song affair features their unrealised EP originally recorded in 1992 plus the 1989 pre-production demo for "Victims...". "Recovered" opens the hostilities with QUEEN's 'Death On Two Legs' (a real good cover which sounds of course way heavier than the original while retaining the original feel), THIN LIZZY's 'Holy War' is next (a killer rendition of this classic tune, David White sounding amazing just like he was when they've performed it at Wacken in 2001), 'In Memory Of...' is an original emotional tune written in memory of two close persons to the band, 'Hellbound' follows (certainly the crunchiest of all covers here - absolutely outstanding) and finally SWEET SAVAGE's 'Eye Of The Storm' ends this first part in a killer way as the tune is truly executed - in both sense of the term - in the best tradition (after all N.W.O.B.H.M. material has no secret for those butchery experts, just check out a BOMB THREAT live set to know what I mean). I guess HEATHEN are capable of transforming the worst tune into a diamond if they choose to cover it! Then comes the four song demo and despite the fact that those tunes ('Hypnotized', 'Opiate Of The Masses' - truly one of the most outstanding / most challenging / best Metal songs ever written, 'Timeless Cell' and 'Mercy Is No Vertue') have been eaten, analysed, shelled to the bone, nothing can change my mind concerning this stuff - truly nothing. Those guys were and still are the masters / experts / untouchable ones when it comes to write this type of Metal, I'm sorry but no description can be explicit enough for describing such art. Between the total mental rifferama produced by Lee Altus / Doug Piercy (now replaced by Ira Black), faultless solid drumming courtesy of Darren Minter and David White's unique singing, you just can't survive to such a sonic deathly assault. It's that killer. Those recordings were produced by Rob Beaton (known for his work on "Victims...", EXHORDER...) so it adds a touch of class if it was needed. Now let me finish this review by adding this; out of all the Bay Area acts that are still around (TESTAMENT...), that have reformed (DEATH ANGEL, EXODUS, P. THREAT, KAOS...), that plans to reform (???), HEATHEN along with WARNINGSF is the only act - and I moderate my words - that can deliver an album of the same class as the ones they did before just because they haven't sold their souls to the trends that are around for more than a decade. They are fans of the original Metal, they do know what old Metalheads are expecting and that's where the difference lies with the other acts. Welcome back guys, we really needed you in that world of mediocrity.

Laurent Ramadier

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