Friday, November 23, 2012

November 23rd, 2012 - Hoptimumed But Not Dead Yet!

Alright metal maniacs and ale aficionados... the Meista's here with another pairing of thrash and craft brew for you!  In honor of the interview with Katon De Pena I posted yesterday, I'm pairing HIRAX's "Not Dead Yet" and Hoptimum Whole-Cone Imperial IPA from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company.

"Not Dead Yet" is the 2009 remastering of HIRAX's first two albums - 1985's "Raging Violence" and 1986's "Hate, Fear And Power."   Contemporaries of Slayer, Exodus, Overkill, and Megadeth, HIRAX hails from the L.A. and Bay Area thrash metal scene of the mid-1980s.  With crossover fierceness, HIRAX blends speed metal, thrash, and punk to create an aggressive and intense sound, which you will definitely find on "Not Dead Yet."  This is an album that will stab you right between the eyes and make your ears bleed and you will beg for more!  Singer and front man, Katon De Pena's voice is distinctive, powerful, and even soulful.  From Sam Cooke to Rob Halford to Phil Lynnott to Ian Gillan, De Pena's influences stretch far and wide and help create something very unique in terms of vocal range and approach for a thrash metal band.  And all this is coupled with blisteringly fast guitar work by Scott Owen and machine gun attack drumming from Johnny Tabares and the thunderous bass of Gary Mondardo!  "Not Dead Yet" opens with the classic, "Demons Evil Force" and relentlessly blasts you until the very last note of the finale, "Criminal Punishment."   Songs like "Bombs Of Death," "Defeat Of Amalek," "Raging Violence," "The Gauntlet," "Destruction & Terror," "Blind Faith," "The Last War," and "Imprisoned By Ignorance" are all text book foundations in how thrash is supposed to sound and feel - political and explosive.  "Not Dead Yet" is a thrash musician's bible!  It is topical, angry, fast, and above all, honest!  If you love thrash metal (and I know you do!), then you MUST own this album!

And speaking of intense and honest, how about some Hoptimum Whole-Cone Imperial IPA?  This is a beer that will stab you right between the eyes with hop abundance!  This is the biggest whole-cone IPA Sierra Nevada makes.  As the bottle label states, it is a "hurricane of flavor."  Coming in at 100% IBU and 10.4% ABV, this is a hop fanatics "wet" dream!  This is big, bold, hoppy, and intense flavor.  With the same thrashing bitterness of HIRAX, the Hoptimum is a huge double IPA.  It pours a nice, golden amber with a 1-finger head that shows thin lacing.  As you would expect - the nose is very hoppy with notes of pine and citrus, but there are some light caramel and malt nuances and even a bit of ester sweetness to be found.  The flavor is complex, balanced, and definitely characterized by a hop-machine gun of tongue-numbing bitterness, but it finishes clean and crisp.  This is a perfect beer for the intensity of HIRAX!!  Both make you take notice and pay attention to every note, every subtlety... and will kick you on your ass! 

Learn more about Sierra Nevada at and join the rest of us HIRAX Legions by checking out "Up the metal hammers" my friends!!  Cheers!

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