Heathen was one of several killer 80's thrash bands comprising the Bay Area thrash scene of the mid-to-late 80's, along with bands such as Exodus, Vio-lence, Death Angel, Vengeance Rising and Forbidden, among others. The band had numerous ties to other San Francisco bands -- James Sanguinetti (Mordred) was a founding member (later replaced by Doug Piercy of Anvil Chorus), Paul Baloff (Exodus) briefly replaced David Godfrey on vocals between albums, and Marc Biedermann (Blind Illusion) played bass on 'Victims of Deception.' Also, bassist Mike Jasteremski went on to play guitar with Griffin.

Breaking the Silence Heathen-Breaking the Silence/Pray for Death Demo (Century Media) 1987

1. "Death by Hanging" (5:04)
2. "Goblins Blade" (4:33)
3. "Open the Grave" (7:21)
4. "Pray for Death" (3:42)
5. "Set Me Free" (3:46)
6. "Breaking the Silence" (5:50)
7. "Worlds End" (7:05)
8. "Save the Skull" (5:20)
9. "Heathen" (6:33)
10. "Pray for Death"-demo (5:23)
11. "Goblins Blade"-demo (4:30)
12. "Open the Grave"-demo (7:21)
13. "Heathen"-demo (6:57)

1999 German re-release of this Bay Area Thrash classic. Heathen were one of the hopefuls of the second wave of thrash coming in the mid-80's. For some strange reason, however, they could not hold it together as a band. The music on this debut, however, is excellent, tight, speedy heavy metal. This album gained some airplay because of the Sweet cover "Set Me Free," which is odd because this song doesn't really represent the sound of the rest of the album. (This song was also covered by Saxon.) I'm sure it was a record company decision to release this particular song as a single. It is also interesting to note that this disc was produced by legendary guitarist Ronnie Montrose. The re-release contains the entire 'Pray for Death' EP, which unfortunately is not much different than the album tracks, save for the opening tracks organ intro. The re-release also includes a 12 page, full color booklet with a short bio, lyrics and tons of photos.

Through the Make Believe Heathen-Victims of Deception (Roadracer) 1991

1. "Hypnotized" (8:35)
2. "Opiate of the Masses" (7:50)
3. "Heathen's Song" (9:24)
4. "Kill the King" (3:35)
5. "Fear of the Unknown" (7:07)
6. "Prisoner of Fate" (6:20)
7. "Morbid Curiosity" (6:26)
8. "Guitarmony"-instrumental (3:30)
9. "Mercy is No Virtue" (6:26)
10. "Timeless Cell of Prophecy" (5:20)

Excellent thrash metal that simply machine guns and tears holes in your ears from beginning to end. Strange thing about this, their second release, is that it came out almost five years after their first album was released on Combat Records. You would think that with that much time between releases, and a few members changing, that their sound would radically change. Fortunately it did not. "Victims of Deception" is a fine slab of California thrash metal. Lots of speedy riffs and double bass, yet retaining a sense of melody, not unlike the first two Forbidden discs. There are also plenty of those mosh rhythms that made thrash so enjoyable. Vocalist David-White Godfrey has a smooth voice, yet enough aggression to get the job done. "Kill the King" is a Rainbow cover that has been done by more bands than I can remember right now.

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