Bay Area thrash legends HEATHEN are back! New album, Empire of the Blind, picks up where the group’s vaunted trio of full-lengths—Breaking the Silence (1987), Victims of Deception (1991), and The Evolution of Chaos (2010)—left off, but pushes the limits of aggression, melody, and heaviness. Indeed, the idea behind Empire of the Blind was an all-eras full-length, one that had a distinct attitude complemented by shorter, more focused songwriting. Essentially, classic HEATHEN but with updated musical proficiency and economy. Penned by guitarist/songwriter Kragen Lum between 2012 and 2019 at the six-stringer’s studio, Empire of the Blind is a thrash metal tour de force.

Nineteen years separate Victims of Deception from The Evolution of Chaos. A similar but shorter timeframe bridges Empire of the Blind from its predecessor. Naturally, HEATHEN loyalists have become accustomed to prolonged gaps between full-lengths.


As the years ticked by, musically, the core of the group—founding member/guitarist Lee Altus and vocalist David White—remained intact. In 2007, the group was joined by Lum from Los Angeles-based progressive metallers Prototype. Unfortunately, the departure (and subsequent passing) of bassist Jon Torres and drummer Darren Minter meant that HEATHEN’s rhythm section would need to be replaced yet again, however. After seven years, the San Franciscans found bassist Jason Mirza (Psychosis) and drummer Jim DeMaria (Toxik). Officially a quintet, HEATHEN captured the energy, passion, and magic of the moment to realize Empire of the Blind.

Where HEATHEN will go from here is anybody’s guess, but the near term—post-COVID-19—is to take the band to places familiar and foreign. Fans from California and Massachusetts to São Paulo and Kobe will finally be able to hear classics like “Death by Hanging,” “Open the Grave,” “Hypnotized,” and “Dying Season” again, while also getting to experience the power and vision of new tracks like “The Blight,” “The Gods Divide,” and the inimitable title track, “Empire of the Blind.” The future is Heathen’s!

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