Dead Heat - Word at War (Cloudy Blue Vinyl)


Certain Death, the 2019 debut album from the Oxnard shit-rippers Dead Heat, was an absolutely nasty piece of work — a fast and grimy and absurdly fun slap of ’80s-style crossover thrash. Certain Death one of my favorite hardcore albums of 2019. But today, Dead Heat have left that album in the dust. Dead Heat’s new LP World At War is a massive step up in every way, an absolute ass-beater of an album. You probably already figured it out from the cover art, but this thing means business.

Dead Heat are rooted in hardcore, but World At War is basically a metal album, and a great one. The band leans hard into ’80s thrash. Almost every song has a whole lot of guitar shredding. Most of them frantically switch up tempos whenever the spirit moves the band. One short song goes the Metallica “Fade To Black” route — the swirling acoustic meditation that makes the next song hit that much harder. Some songs, like “Last Call,” are still pretty close to being straight-up hardcore. Others are another beast entirely. I’m thinking in particular of “Age Of DH,” to my mind the best song that this band has ever written. That thing will grab you by the collar and slide you down the bar. It’s magnificent.

Dead Heat recorded World At War with producer Taylor Young, who’s recently been behind the boards on kickass albums from bands like Drain, Regional Justice Center, and God’s Hate. World At War can hang with all those albums. It might be better than all those albums. It’s awesome.  - Stereogum