I know that the Los Angeles 80s Heavy Metal scene rings a lot of bells and whistles to the most of you. There are many classic releases out there that are shaping a high class status when it comes to LA. Should I remind you the classic BARREN CROSS – “Believe” EP? or the “The High n’ Mighty” full length by COMMANDER? The “People in Hell Want Ice Water” by GRAVEN IMAGE? or the same titled Mini LP by DARK AGE? I guess that is needless to refer to the OMEN first two classic albums or to the “Deliver Us” Mini LP by WARLORD -one of the best Heavy Metal records ever made-. I could write hundreds of titles just to highlight the fact that Los Angeles was the Mecca of Steel back on the golden 80s Metal age:
Hundreds of new bands, mainly inspired by the success of the European Heavy Metal movement, were making their first but serious steps by recording demos, playing live shows and getting ready to record their debut albums. Lots of talent, lots of new ideas and an overall rediscovery of the Heavy Metal sound that would soon give shape to the US Metal core.
THE WRATH was one those bands that quickly jumped on the wagon of this early Heavy Metal train that was coming out straight from the LA scene of the early 80s.
They formed back in 1984 and in 1985 they recorded a demo of four songs. This demo gained the attention of Metal Blade Records and the track “Midnight Madman” was featured on the “Metal Massacre 9” compilation that was released in 1988 (after the band had split up). This was the first and last official release to feature THE WRATH moniker. In 1986 the band recorded 5 more demo songs on their own “Wrathful Studio” before they finally split up in 1987.
Through the years, both the 1985 demo songs and the “Wrathful Studio” 1986 recordings were spread among tape traders, metal fans and collectors. Everyone was trying to find some info about those songs and the band, but THE WRATH had disappeared. Forever? Well I guess not… Why? Because Arkeyn Steel Records team manages the impossible once again by tracking the band and releasing their complete recordings set on an official release under the “Pedal to the Metal” title.
All this obscure background sounds cool but what about the music? Someone may ask. Well THE WRATH delivered a very special type of guitar driven, fast tempo Heavy Metal, often touching the Speed Metal formulas -on their main riffing developments-, highlighting a combination of aggression and melody at the same time.
You can imagine a brief mixture of DARK AGE and OMEN with the vocals standing on the top thanks to both their color and their melodic lines that totally highlight an approach almost uncommon for the typical Metal of the era. The vocals are so fucking melodic that I can easily imagine a young Bob Barduba -or even Chris Cronk– locked in a garage just to shape some massive melodies upon THE WRATH’s sharp aged riffing. Well I can assure you that Dave Hughart reaches THAT KIND of high class status, when it comes to his brilliant vocal melodies.
Bill Simmons and Don Huffman are creating a massive guitar wall of sound: the riffing is huge in here and the lead and solo guitar parts are shinning.
And here I got to point that thanks to the massive work that has been done n the audio part of this particular release we are now able to actually HEAR all the above mentioned features and especially the guitars that are the big trademark on the band’s sound.
I know that Arkeyn Steel Records team have managed to track down the original multi track tapes and that Kostas Scandalis (Infinity Studios) remixed and mastered everything from scratch. I was blown away listening to those new shining versions of the songs. For me it was like hearing a totally new band: Nothing in common with the poor third or fourth generation copies of the songs that I have been storing for years. Wow, I was finally able to hear those GUITARS loud and clear!
The overall artwork and the front cover -based on the band’s original skullhammer trademark- are great. Lots of photos, the complete lyrics and an in depth biography are completing the booklet puzzle, following the usual Arkeyn Steel standards.
THE WRATH was one of the most inspired and powerful bands of the Los Angeles Heavy Metal scene. Due to bad timing their songs were never released officially, remaining in the vaults. Through this release Arkeyn Steel Records is fixing an important mistake in Heavy Metal history, highlighting one of the greatest examples of California Steel.
“Pedal to the Metal” will be out May 19th on Arkeyn Steel Records. You can pre order it here.