Dead Heat - World At War (Cover Artwork)

Dead Heat

World At War (2021)

Triple B Records

With their 2019 debut album being widely hailed as an instant classic in the hardcore/thrash crossover world, Oxnard’s Dead Heat do not let up for a second on their followup effort, World At War. One could even say that World At War isn’t really a crossover record at all, but a distinctively thrash album, with a sprinkling of hardcore elements mixed in.

This album is wall to wall riff porn; the fast, the mosh, the blues, and practically any other kind you can think of. The band only occasionally dirties up the purity of wailing Flying V tones with some hardcore chugging. But then why mess around too much with something that sounds so damn good?

While the thrash is at its most thrash-iest on the speedy, early 1990’s era shredding of tracks of “Subterfuge” and “Look At It Closely”, the band has much more to get off their chests than that. The title track is a mid-tempo stomper that was somehow recorded in 1986 with 2021 lyrics. “Deathwish” starts off simply enough, with a slow burn buildup for the first minute, before exploding into a whirlwind of blistering guitars and drums, atop a visceral lyrical takedown of society. I can name at least 6 hair metal bands that are going to wish they wrote “Last Call”, and what true crossover band would be compete with their own theme song (“Age of DH”)?

Dead Heat do still leave some of their hardcore roots showing. “2 Cents” and “How It Goes” set aside some (not all) of the metal veneer to get some windmilling going. “Pay the Toll” ends up being the track most caught in the gray area. As it is, it’s one of the best hardcore songs of the year, but if the band had tacked another 30 seconds onto it, we’d be talking a heavy metal classic. Can anyone else hear Earth Crisis nervously biting their nails?

You could say World At War absolutely rips. Or that it shreds, or fucks, or slaps. Whatever your chosen vernacular, you’d be correct. This is one to keep on the mantle with the rest of the keepsakes; provided of course that the mantle is still intact.