St. Paul, Minnesot'as True Metal Record Store (RIP as of Dec. 24, 2015)
BONUS OLD METAL, back as promised! Today I’d like to feature one of my favorite recent discoveries: Chicagoland’s WRATH, whose sophomore effort Nothing to Fear from 1987 has found it’s way into constant rotation on my turntable/in my CD deck. Much like their neighbors and contemporaries SLAUTER XSTROYES, WRATH feature a profusion of tasty riffs, expertly subtle songwriting and over-the-top personality thanks in large part to a histrionic vocalist. If the first listen through doesn’t grab you, give it at least another honest try to let the earworm work its way completely to your brain. You’ll be hooked!
Quite a few highlights for me, which I’ll give you in a new convenient quick-browse format:
VOCALS: how about ’em, eh? Gary Golwitzer, immediately hate him or kind of immediately hate him, sounds like nobody else on the planet and gives WRATH an undeniable boost of identity. A heady Dave Mustaine with actual melodic talent. I’ve grown to love the guy and I know you will too.
PRODUCTION: JUICY and THICK. With all the technological advantages we have now I’ll never get how obscurities like this can sound so much better than even the most meticulous of 80s sendbacks. Also get off my lawn, back in my day, etc.
SONGWRITING: the true king here. I get the distinct flavor of MEGADETH, only slightly restrained, which represents an entirely unexplored speed/thrash avenue outside of WRATH’s brilliance on this particular piece. The middling pace lets the riffs breathe and gives the transitions additional weight that transcends the obvious tempo shift. And those harmonies: imagine a GOBLIN and MEGADETH Lucio Fulci soundtrack collaboration and you’ve about nailed it — the opening to track 4, “Painless,” is a perfect example. All around, just incredibly thoughtful underground speed/thrash that was slightly too quirky and a second too late to punch their ticket to the top.
The good news, after a one-off reunion with original members, these guys are again around full time! I can’t endorse nor deny their recent output outside whatever songs I heard on their excellent set in support of SATAN in Chicago last October, but by all means ask Into the Void Records or anybody about all their material and support these old-time metal warriors in any way you can.
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