Review: Dead Heat - Endless Torment
Triple B Records / Tankcrimes Records
Crossover shouldn't be complicated. Equal parts hardcore and thrash metal, that's the recipe right? If only it were that simple. Over ten years, two LPs, and several EPs, Oxnard's DEAD HEAT have been cooking with riffs, but on Endless Torment, they've served up their best offering yet.
The ominous intro of the opening title track kicks into a full blast of thrash immediately bringing to mind their peers in Power Trip, down to the reverb laden vocals of Chris Ramos. However, Dead Heat’s tone has a viscous quality reminiscent of early Sepultura. That association seems all the more intentional when they slog into a mosh inducing riff around the 3:15 mark. This band is wearing their influences on their sleeves and it looks good on them.
There is no lack of energy on the five tracks that make up this EP. “Smite Thee” offers a brief respite, but launches back into madness within the first minute. Bones, the evolving mascot of the band is featured on the album cover with his face melting off and it’s an appropriate response to listening to Endless Torment. Explosive breakdowns, Slayer inspired divebombs, intense shouted vocals, and drums that pop and plunk perfectly placed in the mix.
Dead Heat have the talent and songwriting acumen to climb to the top of the crossover/thrash heap, but also gush with a punk and hardcore intangible that is difficult to describe. Just when you might think you’ve got them figured out, Ramos delivers a well sung ending to “Tears Of The Wolf”. Yes, clean singing and it doesn’t sound like an artistic reach or out of place. This EP is bursting with character!
Closing out the EP is “Hard Reset” with an acoustic Metallica-like intro before getting back to the pummeling. Dead Heat showcase their hardcore side on this track. It’s good, but when side-by-side to their more thrash inspired material, it feels like the weak track of the EP.
Endless Torment is a split label release from Triple B Records and Tankcrimes Records. With a few releases already under their belt with Triple B, and having publicly expressed their interest in working more with Tankcrimes, don’t be surprised to see the band really go for it in the metal world with their next record. These five tracks are confirmation that Dead Heat is ready for the big leagues of thrash metal.