Sometimes when former band members get together to recreate something that was done in the past it doesn’t quite work. Then there are bands such as the Kings of Thrash where it DOES work… and it works VERY WELL.

Recently I was able to check out the band at their show at the Starland Ballroom in NJ. First I must say that I was disappointed that the actual time of the show start was EARLIER than was being promoted. I’ve noticed this happen a lot, especially lately. Note to venues- please stop doing this. If you say doors are 7 and the show start time is 8 and the show begins just after doors, you’re really just hurting the opening acts chances of gaining new fans. Needless to say I missed the opening act and a good part of Anaka.

Now back to the show. Hatriot, a thrash band whose singer/bassist and drummer are sons of legendary metal vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza, were incredible. Their raw talent and energy was infectious. The crowd whipped into a frenzy very quickly. Their seven song set moved very quickly but damn they were good. Cody Souza is an excellent front man. He garnered the audience’s attention from the get-go pulling double duty on bass and vocals is not easy either. Guitarists Kosta Varvatakis and Miguel Esparza just brutalized their instruments with their trash metal madness all the while having drummer Nick Souza keeping time while destroying his drum kit as well. The band has a few albums in their discography so far. Can’t wait to hear more from these guys. Be sure to check out their 2022 release “The Vale of Shadows” it’s a banger!

The headline act for the evening was The Kings of Thrash. In this modern age of cell phones and social media I had an idea as to what to expect and was NOT disappointed one single bit. The band kicked off their set playing “So Far So Good So What?!” from beginning to end. And it was PHENOMENAL. It brought me back to being in high school and hearing the album for the first time from a girl I was dating at the time. The instrumental intro “Into The Lungs of Hell” caught my ear as an irresistible song bringing you into “Set The World Afire”. And as someone who didn’t see Megadeth when I was in high school this made up for lost time. Jeff Young thrilled the crowd with his literal over the top fretboard tapping while gazing into the audience. Once that ended, Chaz Leon took the spotlight. His guitar work is spectacular. His vocals were PHENOMENAL. The band honestly sounded as good IF NOT BETTER than the original album. As much as the night was highlighted by impressive guitar work, one cannot forget to mention drummer Fred Aching who absolutely pummeled his kit the entire night. He had a brief solo part which provided the end of “502” segueing into the intro for “In My Darkest Hour”. What a beast! One of my highlights for the evening’s first set was when Chaz was able to EASILY perform the third verse of “Liar” seemingly in one breath.
I spoke to someone in the audience who actually said and I quote “This is a MUCH more potable version of Megadeth. This sounds even BETTER than the current band”, and he was right. Having Dave Ellefson and Jeff Young do give the band some initial credit, but the fact is that the band REALLY has to be able to prove it themselves, which though is not an easy task for most musicians. Megadeth is known for it’s very precise rhythm and lead solo work. But the band is truly on target to be able to perform the material. In fact they also played a great original song that they collaborated together and created named “Burning Bridges”. Yet another highlight of the evening.

The second “act” of the Kings of Thrash was to perform “Killing is My Business, and Business is Good” in its entirety. And again EVERYONE was easily up to the job. In addition to the songs on the album the band performed a few extra tunes from Dave’s back catalog including his own “solo” if you will “Dawn Patrol” and the one work he might be best known for- the picking intro to “Peace Sells”.
The initial tour for this band maybe just about over but you can get their album Best Of The West – Live At The Whisky A Go Go (2 CD + DVD) featuring Chris Poland (also an ex-Mega member) and watch and listen to exactly what I saw along with countless others on this tour.
I would hope the band will come around touring again. It was a good night for thrash. Long live the kings!
Review and photos by Bryan Bardes