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Classic Review: Heathen - Victims of Deception
Victims of Deception

Label: Roadrunner Records
Year released: 1991
Duration: 64:47
Tracks: 10
Genre: Thrash Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: November 23, 2004
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Victims of Deception

Rated 4.22/5 (84.44%) (45 Votes)

This was the long-awaited follow-up to Heathen's acclaimed debut "Breaking The Silence" from 1987. This was one of those bands deeply embedded in the Bay Area scene of the time with bands like Exodus, Violence, and Forbidden – the second generation thrashers as it were. They had some label problems after the debut that kept them from recording this until the Thrash tide had largely receded, and so they never really broke big, despite a loyal following.

If you think of "Ride The Lightning" with actually good vocals, you will not be far from the sound of this album. While the debut was more energetic and go-for-the-throat Thrash, this is a much more mature album, and showed a band that had not been wasting their time off between albums. There is a surprising degree of light and shade musicianship to this record, and the song structures are sprawling and quite complicated. That does not mean they were any less heavy than before, and in fact this is much heavier than their debut recording, with a killer kick to the guitar tone. The riffs are thick and heavy, and the leads are really impressive. David Godfrey is not a screamer or a rasper, but a real singer, who attacks the vocal lines with balls and melody both. I have to say the vocal melodies are not always as catchy as they might be, but the performance is good nonetheless. If I have to level one complaint at this album it's that it never really lets go and just rocks. Heathen wrote an album of very involved, complex tunes, but they cooked it a little too long, and the constant time changes and almost prog song structures keep this from ever really getting off the ground. This is a good album, but it is also dense and not that memorable unless you listen to it a lot.

This album deserved better than it got, like so many metal albums released in '91. Frigging Nirvana was already on the radio when this was released, and soon the whole scene would collapse under the weight of flannel and goatees. It would be about five long years before metal would show any signs of life at all, and bands not of the first rank, like Heathen, would not survive. I'm glad they have gotten their act back together, and we might even get a new CD out of them sometime. This entire album is available for free download on their website, so there is no reason not to have one of the highlights of 1991 for your collection.

Other related information on the site
Review: Breaking the Silence (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Empire of the Blind (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Empire of the Blind (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Recovered (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Evolution of Chaos (reviewed by Adam Kohrman)
Review: The Evolution of Chaos (reviewed by Hermer Arroyo)
Review: The Evolution of Chaos (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Interview with bassist Jason Viebrooks and guitarist Kragen Lum on March 1, 2015 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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