There were three noteworthy Bay Area thrash debuts in 1987 — Testament’s The Legacy, Death Angel’s The Ultra-Violence, and Heathen’s Breaking The Silence. Of the three, Heathen’s debut is probably the least “famous”. Unfortunate indeed, as Breaking The Silence may well be the best album of the lot.
Breaking The Silence was released by Combat Records in the United States and by Music For Nations Records in the United Kingdom. A few years back, Heathen offered up the full Breaking The Silence album for free download on their website. Those days are no more, as is that particular website, but it was mighty nice of ’em while it lasted!
Breaking The Silence features thrash with a great degree of finesse. The playing is crisp, the production is decent, and best of all, the hooks are memorable. My favorite track is probably Goblin’s Blade, which features great lyrics, an awesome lead riff, and a catchy chorus. The seven minute long Open The Grave is another winner, as is the cover of The Sweet’s Set Me Free (released as a single). What I really enjoy about this album is that the chaos is under control, the riffs are smart and palatable, the solos are well-composed, and the vocals are very good (for thrash). Easily one of my top ten thrash favorites of 1987. My score: B+