Written by: The Administrator
Riddle me this: does anyone with a love of thrash and/or speed metal really require any sort of ulterior recommendation in order to take a new thrash and/or speed release out for a quick spin? It's a genre that plays fast 'n' loose by definition, so take our stuffy two cents on this split with a grain of salt.
Intro adequately dispensed with, let's dive right into that oh-so-sweet Speed Armageddon. Are ye familiar with Wraith and Bastardizer? If no, you probably should be. Wraith, for one, took my personal 2019 Albums of the Year list by storm with their stellar sophomoric Absolute Power. Said album was (and is) an absolute barn-burner of an effort, characterized by a pedal-to-the-metal approach to wild riffage and wilder vocals. In our review, I stated that "I went into Absolute Power expecting an absolute ripper, and that's exactly what I got." Hold that thought for later, cuz' spoiler: I feel the same exact way in regards to this split. Bastardizer is an outfit I have admittedly less experience with, although a dive into their discography has resulted in some sustained headbanging 'round these parts. These Aussies traditionally lean a little more into the thrash 'n' roll side of the spectrum--rollicking and high-octane momentum abounds, with gritty aggression that's a little more Midnight and a little less Deathhammer. Bottom line is that both acts are choice cuts in the speed/thrash arena, and this 15 minute collaboration is but another feather in their respective caps.
Wraith kick things off in typical Wraith fashion--both "Speed Kills" and "Death Strike" are fast, vicious, and gloriously pugilistic. The churning riffage is on-point as always, the drums are frenetic, and the vocals are as blackened and bastardly as we've ever seen. There's a constant sense of almost-but-not-quite losing pace with the instrumentation, a quality which adds dramatic flair whilst reminding me fondly of Sodom. Lest the axemanship be forgot, "Death Strike" features a furious solo that seemingly serves as the centerpiece for Wraith's contribution to the split. They also throw in a nasty cover of GBH's "Sick Boy," doing absolute justice to that quintessential riff in the process. All told: an outing of typically roadrash'd proportion. While Wraith tracks generally feel similar in a way that wouldn't fly with other genres (or bands, frankly,) they continue to pull it off with (apparent) ease.
While a predisposed respect for (and familiarity with) Wraith obviously impacted initial listens, Bastardizer, to their great credit, won this particular scribe over in very short order. The two tracks they contribute here are pretty damn incredible--a distillation of their strongest suits into a tidy little package. Closer "Erotic Christ" has some particularly nice vocal work, subtly reminiscent of Motorhead, while "Mark of the Storm" is a gritty romp through thrashy gravel-ridden pastures. The drumwork here is particularly crisp and noteworthy. If I have a single complaint regarding Speed Armageddon, it's that we don't get to hear another track courtesy of these guys.
From a pragmatic standpoint, I fuckin' love splits. They are a stellar way to introduce the fandom of one artist to another group with a similar aesthetic...but they also allow musicians a platform to compliment one another in a manner seldom seen in the universe of metal bands. Speed Armageddon is a marked success (as assumed upon initial reception of the promo kit) and I sincerely hope we see similar projects from both Wraith and Bastardizer in the future. They both excel in this arena, and are excellent champions for the scene as a whole. Thus, for what it's worth for all ye speedfreaks and thrashers: highly recommended!
Wraith / Bastardizer - Speed Armageddon will be released on June 22nd via Bonepick Records. Limited Edition 10" vinyl preorders launch June 22nd as well. Black and grey splatter pressed on clear vinyl: USA shipping, International shipping, Australian shipping
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!