It had been long enough since Heathen, one of the hopefuls of the second wave of eighties Bay Area thrash bands, brought their excellent, tight, speedy thrash metal style to New York. The last time was in 2011 in Manhattan. It was a cold night. It was a rainy night. Those who traveled from New York and presumably other parts of the tri-state didn’t give a flying fuck about the rain. We didn’t give a shit about the weather. All we cared about with heavy metal beating in our hearts on March 10th in Brooklyn at the Kingsland to see Heathen mend the gap of no east coast dates.
With enough time to spare, I indulged in the venue’s housemade caesar salad and cheddar burger. Both were equally satisfying. While having dinner, I also witnessed Jurassic Park on mute in fluid 4K Ultra HD on the venue’s TV. Call it genetics, call it luck, call it a healthy lifestyle, but Jeff Goldblum has yet to age a day since 1993. Heathen’s direct support for this east coast circuit was Canada’s Arrival of Autumn. Albeit short, their set was action-packed and was fun to see live.
At around 10:30 p.m., the Bay Area titans took the stage. They gave a great set covering greats from Breaking the Silence, Victims of Deception, The Evolution of Chaos, and Empire of the Blind. Heathen offered a delightful cross-section of songs. Although Heathen’s deep-cut classics like Opiate of the Masses, Goblins Blade, plus their tribute to the Sweet’s Set Me Free received the broadest crowd reaction. New songs like Empire of the Blind, Blood to Be Let, and Arrows of Agony also sounded great. Heathen’s performance was intense. We were glad to watch them having a blast on stage.
David White’s aggressive yet smooth style of thrash vocals has aged like a fine wine, which added a dash of classic metal vocal acrobatics to some of the newer songs. David brought the thunder instead of hearing a computer. It may have taken, more or less, twelve years, fifty-two countries, five continents, and a soft global exile for Heathen to tour the east coast. It was full-on worth the wait. Despite battling gnarly acoustics, Heathen gave it all they got while kicking ass with no-nonsense, straight-up thrash metal. When they come back to New York, we’ll be there.