Dead Heat – Endless Torment (Tankcrimes/ Triple B Records)

Wednesday, 26th July 2023
Rating: 8 / 10

Crossover thrash/hardcore has seen another resurgence as of late – different from the metalcore movement that arose in the late 90’s/early 2000’s. Drawing influence from the punk, hardcore, metal, and thrash movements, Dead Heat from Oxnard, California have been plying their trade since 2016 releasing demos, singles, EP’s, and two albums before arriving at this latest effort, Endless Torment. A quick hitting five-song affair, the quartet seamlessly intertwine aspects of the original 80’s crossover feel with a bit of modern angst to prove that they are fully capable of attracting multiple generations of followers into the fold.

On initial passes, the stop/start musical shifts as well as gang-infused background vocals that punctuate key phrases/choruses stand out the most – while the sophisticated drum rolls on the opening title track give that arrangement more life/energy. Justin’s guitar work has this heavier overtone that can be equally crunchy as it is catchy – mirroring the spitfire, forceful range of Chris for “Smite Thee” which brings aspects of Leeway, the Cro-Mags, and early thrash acts like Exodus or Hallows Eve to mind. Bell chimes against a thick bass foundation from Vince signal the mid-tempo to speedy crossover anthem “Eyes of the Real”, it’s shape shifting, moody riffs plus sadistic screams similar to the best work of Power Trip. The unity aspect between the musicians, their performances, and the call to arms aspects throughout the five tracks keeps interest from first spin to the present one – even as the softer, acoustic guitar strains enter the picture before transforming into this crossover thrash monster on closer “Hard Reset”. The vicious logo and vivid skull-figure complete with all the imagery you’d want from an underground maven sews up any loose ends as to what you’ll uncover in this act.

Fairly active as a DIY act with booking shows and spreading love to the scene, Dead Heat deserves praise for a passionate, primal approach to crossover thrash for Endless Torment.

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