How did this happen? How could you let this happen? That's right. You there with the keyboard and the mouse staring at the screen, reading these words. How could let this thrash scene develop underneath my nose and not tell me about? There is only so much one guy can do, you know. Granted, while I lived through the golden era of thrash, I was not quite attuned to it the way I should have and missed out on a lot of great music the first time around. I guess it is true, those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. What does that have to do with the review at hand? Well, Warbringer is one of this bright shining spots that are helping bring the thrash of old to the current metal youth, and not wannabe thrash, this is down and dirty, old school thrash in the vein of those classic 80's acts.
I cannot believe I missed all of these acts. Remember, I cannot do this on my own, be sure to bring new bands to my attention so I can give them a spin, time permitting.
Now Warbringer is among a growing group of acts whose sole purpose is to deliver punishing thrash metal, bringing to mind bands like Testament, Exodus, Nuclear Assault, Laaz Rockit, and many others. They are joined by acts like Evile, Bonded by Blood, Municipal Waste, and Skeletonwitch. I have only sampled some of these other bands, but they all deliver that great thrash sound that had faded for so many years. This resurgence could not have come at a better time, what with bands like Testament and Exodus delivering excellent new albums.
Warbringer does not really bring anything new to the table but what they do, they do well, very well. When you first hear them, you may momentarily think that this is an old school thrash band, but that is just the sound of a young group of guys throwing their heart and soul into the sound they believe in, and doing it well. And, yes you will find a lot of similarities to those other bands, but what you will not find is a copy. While they have the influences and take their cues, this band sounds fresh.
Some of the credit for the authenticity in the band's sound has to be given to producer Bill Metoyer. Why? Well, because he has been working with metal bands since the glory years of thrash and knows how to get that sound just right. He has worked with acts such as WASP, DRI, Sacred Reich, Slayer, Dark Angel, and Lizzy Borden. He knows what to do behind that board.
That is not to belittle the work of the band; they turn in extraordinary performances here. From the moment I heard the dueling solos to open "Total War," I knew I was in for a treat. This record is filled with big, fast, aggressive riffs with momentary breaks to allow for a blistering solo.
The guitar work is courtesy of John Laux and Adam Carroll. Backing up that duo is Ryan Bates delivering a nonstop barrage of drums and Andy Laux on bass. Leading the charge into the breach is John Kevill, whose vocals are something of a blend of screamo and thrash metal styles, fitting the band perfectly, although the one mix issue (slight as it is) is that Kevill could have been mixed a bit more forward.
When you get a copy of War Without End, and you know you will, here are a few tracks to pay attention to: "Total War," "Combat Shock," "Dread Command," and "At the Crack of Doom."
Bottomline. This retro-thrash scene can be seen as nothing but a good thing. I cannot say that anything groundbreaking will emerge and the legends need not worry about their legacy. What Warbringer brings to the table is solid new thrash tunes to bang our heads to. They have the skill not to sound like a copy, and a respect for the genre that shows through their music. Do yourself a favor, give Warbringer a shot.Powered by Sidelines