Following on from 2019’s decent debut album, Certain Death, comes Dead Heat’s sophomore crossover shit-kicker World At War, a release which gives us more of the same crossover thrash but aps the ante in almost every department.
You know what to expect, right? The kind of frenzied hardcore-inflected 80s thrash which was the bread and butter of such luminaires as Leeway, Attitude Adjustment, Excel and Crumbsuckers (with more than a little Vio-Lence and Exodus thrown in for good measure). Which is exactly what you’re gonna get! Sharing a kinship with Power Trip’s almighty Nightmare Logic (2019), this monster of an album brings the free-thinking, mosh-pit-baiting, rebellious sounds of the 80s front and centre. Which means that Dead Heat are hardly breaking new ground but they are retro-fitting their noise for longtime, rabid fans of the genre…..and they’re doing it bloody well!
A relentless onslaught of chugging, fast-picked riffs come at ya like a snarling pit-bull let off its leash with Chris spitting out lyrics with wild abandon, ably backed by occasional bursts of obligatory gang vocals. A little 80s synths creep in on the John Carpenter-esque intro to the title track before Bonded By Blood inspired riffs stab and scythe their way through the masses. It’s all so damn appealing and impossible to ignore.
There’s a nice nod to the more subtle moments of Suicidal Tendencies à la “How Will I Laugh Tomorrow” on the short and sweet “Interlude (Passions)” but, for the majority of the time, Dead Heat simply thrash out with a set of anthems purpose built to cause maximum destruction! Speaking of Suicidal Tendencies, “Age of DH” may provoke ire for its pilfering of “Pledge Your Allegiance” but, to be fair to the lads, it’s a cracking tune which honours Mike Muir’s pioneering output as opposed to merely plagiarising it. There’s actually plenty of old-school thrash touchpoints to savour with the savage “2 Cents” and “Look At It Closely” providing an Atrophy-esque bounce while the opening machine-gun Metallica-isms of “Deathwish” hit hard and the Hannemann / King aping interplay of “The Fall” reaps its own benefits.
The only real misstep would be the irritatingly ill-fitting “Last Call”, which seems to aim for a poor-man’s Ratt meets Skid Row acceptability and is at odds with the remainder of the album. Fortunately the intense savagery of “Pay The Toll” steadies the ship and ends World At War on a considerable high, proving itself to be the equivalent of Power Trip’s almighty “Executioner’s Tax (Swing Of The Axe)”, even if it is over all too quick.
World At War is a definite improvement on Certain Death and proves that the likes of Power Trip and Enforced have some serious competition to contend with! 8/10
Dead Heat‘s World At War was released on June 5th, 2021 via Triple-B Records.