As much as my bleeding metalhead heart hates to admit it, there’s something about those racing d-beat punk rhythms that just seems more human than the swollen-ankle, ultra-technical drum flagellation you find in a lot of metal these days. The members of the Fucking Wrath feel me on that one. The band’s debut, Season of Evil, is the work of three dudes whose tape decks stopped working in 1984, back before death metal had stomped the hardcore influences out of thrash.
It’s hard to tell whether this Montalvo, California, trio is a group of punks with a Black Sabbath fixation or a bunch of metal heshers that dig Discharge. Honestly the punk/metal distinction doesn’t much matter when songs like “Church of the Apocalypse” and the Motorhead-lovin’ “Past Your Grave” do such a good job of brokering peace between the two. The Fucking Wrath is at its most fucking wrathful on the speedy material (and with eleven songs in twenty-seven minutes, there’s a lot of it), but “To the Eels” and “Old Man and the Sea” channel the same power into doomy slabs of Sabbath steez.
The Fucking Wrath isn’t scoring any points for originality — when this music’s not recalling the punk and metal overlords of the early ’80s, it sounds an awful lot like High on Fire. The band’s ragged energy and songwriting easily saves the album from tribute-circuit-territory though, and I gotta imagine that if Season of Evil were released a mere twenty-five years earlier, we might cite it in the same hallowed tones as Ace of Spades and Kill ’em All. Take your cues from the cover art: Season of Evil is the perfect album for slaying dragons in the depths of hell.