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HIRAX- Demo Tape (selfproduced, USA, 1984)

hirax_fronthirax_completehirax_tapeBefore HIRAX were one serious motherfucker of a Thrash Metal band that more and and more stretched out into Hardcore-crossover territories, they released one of the best non-british NWOBHM recordings: This four track demo tape from 1984!

I had ordered this after I read about it in one of the underground magazines. The name HIRAX sounded so damn great. There were other bands with neologism, like AMEBIX or EXXOR (whose name was directly inspired by HIRAX) and they all had to have at least one “X” in the name.
The four songs on this demo – how could I possibly put into words what they mean to me. “Born in the Streets” opens up the reign and you can’t get the riff out of your head again, once you heard it. And let’s face it: Katon’s vocals add all the extra sugar on top of it. I can’t understand why some people were so put off by his singing, because, seriously: It fucking rules. And so the other three songs too totally live off his unique voice. “Battle Cry” is just perfect, “Stand and be counted” will have you sing along soon and “Believe in the King” starts off with a cheesy intro only to blast off into one monster of a song.

I first thought about adding some rehearsal tracks to illustrate how HIRAX quickly added a lot of muscle and became a Thrash Metal outfit almost over night. But let’s save these tapes for some other time round, when I have more time to go into the NWOBHM / Thrash transition-theme again.

In the meantime, download these four songs in the best quality you will ever hear them. This goes out to Marco Suremann, wherever you are. And thanks to Dave from Rocket Sciene for selling me his copy of the demo, after I had lost my own copy along the way.

Born in the Streets.mp3
Battle Cry.mp3
Stand and be counted.mp3
Believe in the King.mp3

25 Comments

  1. juanito

    yes yes yes this is fucking great!!!!!!!! used to see hirax play out live many times after myparents had moved from madrid to o.c. katon was and is such a nice guy. it’s a shame hirax are still so overlooked cuz as you say they were pioneers. I only had some 190 kb mp3 of this demo and they sound like garbage compared to these. you’re so great admin thank you!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-May-09 at 12:42 | Permalink
  2. Ryan

    This is totally great stuff. It was released on 7″ by Stormbringer Records after receiving permission from a former member of Hirax (I think), but apparently Katon had a problem with it. Damn shame.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-May-09 at 14:41 | Permalink
  3. Mbr

    This demo has recently been released as a 7″ by Stormbringer records.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-May-09 at 14:47 | Permalink
  4. Mbr

    Oops… it was already mentioned.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-May-09 at 14:48 | Permalink
  5. What's the Truth?

    This is one I already had, but not with the quality of your rip, so thanks! I always wondered how Katon would sound singing more nwobhm-ish metal…his voice seems to beg the question naturally.

    Many other nwobhm-ish demos of thrash bands aren’t so great (Death Angel, for example,) but there are a few other good ones, I think, like the 1982 Exodus demo.

    If anyone hasn’t heard the other Katon-fronted thrash metal (from right after he first left Hirax) band, Phantasm, be sure to check them out…at least, I liked it. Their one recent release, Wreckage, has their 1987 demo and live set recorded while on tour with Nuclear Assault, also in 1987:

    http://www.metal-archives.com/band.php?id=15043

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-May-09 at 16:20 | Permalink
  6. Pele

    About the Stormbringer 7″: It’s a bootleg or not? At least it looks and sounds like one! These rips sound better, crunchier and at least they’re not on fucking colored vinyl. Why do these kids always put out their cheap records on colored vinyl?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-May-09 at 23:59 | Permalink
  7. I must admit, WTT, that until now, I never got really into PHANTASM. Why is that? I don’t know.

    Pele: I did not know about that 7″ and I’ve never heard or seen it. I tend to agree concerning the colored wax thing.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-May-09 at 00:04 | Permalink
  8. Par

    This is of caouse great, I had this demo once but sold it years ago. I like the first vinyl better than this but still this is as I said great. The only bad thing about this is the logo, their logoon the records is much greater.

    And now to Stormbringers defence, Nicke who run it has put out vinyls for over ten years now and is NOT a kid but a great guy. I used to trade videos with him alot of years ago.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-May-09 at 02:26 | Permalink
  9. Te logo on the demo is killer, hahaha. I remember when I was at Tom Fischer Warriors place one day, he was rawing the HIRAX loo as we know it. He hated the band musically, made fun of Katon constantly.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-May-09 at 03:17 | Permalink
  10. What's the Truth?

    Erich:

    Actually, it took me a while to enjoy Phantasm. I thought there weren’t enough fast songs, and I thought the slow ones weren’t really very good. At first, I only liked the song “Pray for Power,” (that song hit hard right from the start) but after enough listens the rest of them grew on me.

    I wonder why Warrior drew the logo for Hirax if he hated the band? Was it a favor of some kind?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-May-09 at 07:18 | Permalink
  11. Glenn

    Holy channeling-Iron-Maiden in “Battle Cry”.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-May-09 at 09:18 | Permalink
  12. Glenn

    Definite cringe-worthy solo in the opening of “Believe in the King”. Enjoyable song after that though.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-May-09 at 09:25 | Permalink
  13. Dave G

    Erich, I am hit and miss with Hirax, but I like this demo much more than their thrash records. I am not sure I gave you this Hirax tape, but I did give you the Phantasm demo.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-May-09 at 14:23 | Permalink
  14. howardx

    didnt katon start his own label? i swear i have a comp here somewhere…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 20-May-09 at 17:10 | Permalink
  15. Franklin

    I’m kinda new to the whole music blog thing but yours is truly outstanding. In the past week, I downloaded about everything you have and I can’t stop being totally overwhelmed by the quality music you share. This doesn’t just concern Hirax (awesome demo!!) but really everything you post. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-May-09 at 09:25 | Permalink
  16. Thanks much, Franklin. It’s always good to read comments like yours. I’m not aiming to please, so whenever somebody digs what I’m doing here, it makes me really happy.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-May-09 at 12:19 | Permalink
  17. anaheim

    whart totally irritates me is that on the scan above you didn’t rewind the tape LOL

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-May-09 at 06:45 | Permalink
  18. “I’m not aiming to please”, but somehow you always manage to please others. I think it was Katon’s voice that turned me off of these guys way back when I first heard them. Is it possible to be too good of a singer? The newish video they have out on Deep Six is really good.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 22-May-09 at 07:37 | Permalink
  19. Conrad

    I have the 7″ and indeed do these rips sound better. Did you add bass or generally work on the soundfiles? How do you manage to get such a clean sound?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-May-09 at 02:43 | Permalink
  20. Katon was a partner in the Long Beach, CA based Junk Records, specializing in punk bands that loved Johnny Thunders.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-Jun-09 at 10:02 | Permalink
  21. Hi all,
    Look at my site to see my Hirax collection, I need this tape!!:-), anyone can help?*g*
    Nice songs from the best band on earth
    cheers
    Daniele – Hiraxmaniac

    [Reply]

    Posted on 12-Jul-09 at 13:34 | Permalink
  22. mlotek

    Thank you for this rip! IT IS the clearest, best version I have ever heard. I guess the copy I had in the 1980s was apoor dub (which is strange since the fanzine editor probably got his copy from Katon).

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Aug-09 at 05:03 | Permalink
  23. Great!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 12-Sep-09 at 20:50 | Permalink
  24. elliott

    this one is on very heavy play right now. every song is just perfect. the vocals are amazing. how did he sound when the band became a thrash metal band? i would love to hear some more hirax but it’s kind of hard. how did such a good band get overlooked? i don’t know if that’s the right word for it but you know what i’m saying. the kids today suck. none of them has heard of this except me and when i played this to some kids they thougt it was okay but they complained about the production. excuse me? are you that stupid? anyway i’m a diing breed and i know it. hopefully i’m not the last of my kind (the kind who truly loves music and collects it) but right now that’s all i can do is hope. but this. this just fucking kills. thanks so much man.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 05-Dec-09 at 05:54 | Permalink
  25. I like the one about being annoyed, because the tape wasn’t rewinded. Just two days ago I was scanning a demo cassette and connected my old tape deck especially for that reason!

    Admin, I very much like what you do, I’m just not into the mp3 thing. Please check out my trade pages, maybe we can set up a lossless trade?

    Funnily enough, I just acquired an original copy of the tape (along with a vintage promo photo) and I had hoped for it to sound better than the copy that I had (pretty much lacking the high end of sound, otherwise it is an almost perfectly sounding studio recording).

    Then I read about this 7″ which I thought to be an authorized release with music from the source. Unfortunately this seems not to be the case :-(

    Now I am excited to find out what my copy sounds like and hopefully, with some azimuth adjustment and eq’ing (if needed) the loss of sound quality inherent in the tape thing (deterioration through dubbing / the “position” kind of tape used) can be compensated.

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    About the trading thing: Since you can download about 600 rare recordings from this blog, I find it a bit weird to ask me for “trades”. Seriously.

    Other than that: Have fun with the Hirax demo. ow that you mentioned it, I remember the b&w photo, I think that came with the tape when you received it from Katon directly.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-Apr-10 at 10:39 | Permalink

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