Following in the footsteps of bands such as Power Trip and Suppressive Fire, Chicago speedsters Wraith teamed up with Toxic Holocaust mastermind Joel Grind to get an injection of his brand of war corroded blackened anti matter to complement the trio’s maiden voyage Heed the Warning.
Title track/opener “Heed the Warning” hits the ground running. Collectively the band sticks with the same rhythm throughout the song, but the band pounds the notes into submission so quickly that things don’t have time to get boring. Regardless of the Toxic Holocaust influence, “Endless Winter” showcases the band’s effectiveness as a three piece, ending with a Discharge-fueled attack that sonically equates to a Fabulous Freebirds-style beatdown. “Bastards” and “Fire” continue the unrelenting lo-fi speed, serving as both declarations of character and manifestos.
If you’re looking for a place to take a break on side B you won’t find it, but if one were to take a gander at the lyrics, it’s feasible that the commentary on “I Am Death” and “The Pit” will keep listeners engaged. If there is one word that could be used to describe the album up to this point it would be nightmarish and lead single “System Overlord” is the best example of this. The band has been crafting down and dirty rockers that are as grim as they are relatable throughout the album but the doom and gloom found in “System Overlord” is so intense that you can almost see the reality the band is talking about coming to life. Delivering a final salvo with “Lightning Strikes,” Wraith doesn’t pull any punches despite the song’s obvious simplicity.
Bottom Line: Literally seconds shy of the 20 minute mark, there’s little reason to not give this album a listen.
Final Grade: B
Heed the Warning is available for purchase through Wraith’s Bandcamp page. It is also available on cassette from Rapid Fire Records.