Like most of their late eighties Brit-thrash compatriots – those that were worth a spit, anyway – Hydra Vein never quite got the accolades they deserved back in the day. Recording their two albums on tiny labels probably didn’t do them much good, either, and it seemed for a very long time as if they would just be one of the many names cast into our ‘whatever happened to?’ file, never to be heard of again.

Pleasingly, though, the band – or what was left of them, after the untimely demises of both singer Mike Keen and guitarist Jon Balfour – got back together pre-pandemic to test the thrash waters again. What we have before us now – Unlamented, the band’s third full length – now features only two survivors from the band’s ‘glory’ days, bassist Damon Maddison and guitarist Danny Ranger. Was it worth the wait?

In the final washup, you’d have to say yes. Tracks like Age of Plague go some way to remembering the band at their youthful best, as the sextet (that’s right – they now boast three guitarists!) chug along in accompaniment to the propulsive drumming of John den Buitelaar. It’s enough to cause a smile to creep across your grizzled features, let me tell you, and in these days of diminished expectations that probably should be chalked down a s a result for the band.

Blood Eagle Dawn is a clattering, cacophonous piece of heads-down Brit thrash, nothing more, nothing less, and it’s about as good as it gets for Hydra Vein in 2022. A loose, airy production probably bleeds the music of a little bit of it’s power, but that’s traded for a slightly crusty air about the proceedings which, despite the presence of three Dutchmen on the recordings, only seems to enhance the overall ‘Britishness’ of the sound. If you love that authentic Brit thrash sound, you’ll love this album.

Well worth a spin if you remember the band from the old days – and even if you don’t there’s enough of the good stuff here to warrant further investigation.

Unlamented releases on October 21st.