Album Of The Week – October 4, 2021

Back around 2005 something interesting happened in the metal underground. A thrash revival kicked off, with a new generation of bands either paying homage to the sounds of the 1980’s or taking the sound in new directions. Thrash may have suffered along with metal as a whole in the ’90’s but it came back strong a decade later.

The curious thing about this thrash resurgence is that it really hasn’t ended after 16 years. It didn’t come on then flame out like many pop retro movements do – instead it hung around, with many of the bands responsible now elder statesmen of their own scene, while newer acts emerge to this day to keep thrash alive.

Wraith is one such band plying their trade in thrash circles. Formed in 2016, this American outfit have already had several descriptors thrown on them – speed, punk, thrash, and the noted pre-suffix “blackened-” have all been used in attempts to sum up what these guys are up to. And a few weeks ago they released a new effort that has captured the attention of many in the metal realm.

Wraith – Undo The Chains

Released September 24, 2021 via Redefining Darkness Records

Favorite Tracks – Gatemaster, Mistress Of The Void, Disgusting

I hadn’t heard Wraith, or even of them, until the album’s release. Undo The Chains was getting traction in discussion on Twitter so I looked it up and gave it a spin. It wasn’t hard to get straight into as the band offer 12 songs in a lean 32 minutes. I’ve been on a kick of very ponderous and atmospheric stuff this year so finding an antidote to that has been very nice.

The album’s title-track intro serves as a set-up for what’s to come – dirty, pounding thrash that doesn’t take a note off and drives the point home like a nail gun. This isn’t going to be an exercise in experimentation or atmosphere, this is going to stomp from start to finish.

Wraith bill themselves as “no bullshit speed and thrash,” and that is exactly what is presented on Undo The Chains. There are no acoustic intros or time signature-altering interludes – this just goes from start to finish in a down and dirty, headbanging good time. Thrash and musical technicality can and do go together well, but there’s no need for it here. The album just goes straight for the throat and hangs on for its lean playtime.

It’s all pretty simple – if you like thrash, check this album out. It’s a whole half hour of your time. Any more words I spend talking about it would just be pointless exercises in vomiting exposition and aren’t worth the effort. If you don’t like thrash, you probably aren’t reading this paragraph.

Metal has been around a very long time and the scene still runs strong. Wraith are proof positive that this shit isn’t going to end anytime soon. Calling Undo The Chains simple would be a disservice, but calling it uncomplicated and straight to the point gets more at the matter. Crack open a cold one, turn it up to 11, and let the whole neighborhood jam out to Wraith.

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