AH FUCK! First track, "Living Weapon" starts with a fast, almost military style, snare playing in tandem with a building guitar riff, followed by the bass setting a solid rhythm which guides you into an explosion of shredding guitars, monster bass work, high velocity double bass drums and aggressive vocal righteousness!
On second thought, scratch that, do you remember when an album set you on fire from the very first note? You rushed your stereo to crank it till the music was a distorted mass of pure awesomeness so as not to miss a beat right before you started playing air guitar and drums along with the track? No? Well, look no further, cause that type of music is back! For me, I am an old man compared to some of you, I've seen it and heard it all and I immediately felt that old passion come back at exactly 00:01 seconds of play.
We're talking, untainted, rampant, as good as it gets THRASH! As if the rock gods of old have taken possession of these guys and are channeling the vigor and inspiration of the (once) great ones through their very souls, but with the intensity of a new era. Yeah buddy, another one of the very few bands this year who is bringing the music back from the brink which overlooks the vast chasm of commercial dullness! Warbringer, whether they like it or not, is destined to be for this generation what the "Big Four" had once been to us so very long ago.
But there is something a bit more to this than just thrash, it's hard to put my finger on it (I am writing this as I listen, to allow for a certain level of purity to this review as it flows), there is a complexity here that I have heard perhaps only once before this year. Though, the album is excellently produced by Steve Evetts (Symphony X, Sepultura and Dillinger Escape Plan among others), the band has elevated the bar on this album and have surpassed their two previous LP releases, 2008's "War Without End" and 2009's "Waking Into Nightmares", with a ferocity and skill which is so rare and is only matched by the best in the genre.
I shit you not, every song on this album is a veritable classic; "Living Weapon" "Shattered Like Glass", "Wake Up...Destroy!", "Future Ages Gone", "Savagery", "Treacherous Tongue", "Echoes From The Void", "Enemies Of The State", "Behind The Veils Of Night" and "Demonic Ecstasy" are each a masterpiece.
Two tracks in particular, with their delicate string work, "Echoes Of The Void", which begins softly before crushing your skull and "Behind the Veils of Night", which is entirely a mellow instrumental, really highlights the abilities of both John Laux and Adam Carroll as axmen.
"Behind the Veils of Night" is a welcome respite from the maximum adrenaline of previous tracks, like taking a breather after a mosh pit...it brings you down to earth again, giving you the energy to go on. You find yourself lost in its exquisiteness...and then the last track "Demonic Ecstacy" begins; a slow build, chords powering it with the same energy of a nuclear reactor just before meltdown, you hear John's Bro Andy working the bass behind Carlos Cruz's forceful drums...and singer John Kevill enters with his distinct voice....you know it's coming...the beat picks up ever so slightly..."LET ME HAVE IT!" "My Soul Is Not My Own!" Kevill" screams in reply ....and I'm swept into a F5 twister of blessed metal bedlam!
Now, you thrashheads know, I rarely curse, well at least here on the site, but GODDAMN! This is the proverbial shit...I'm sorry if I am not more eloquent when trying to convey the experience gained from listening to this album; what I can say however, is that I was completely and utterly drawn into a thrash opus of the highest order which made me one happy S.O.B.!
I refuse to compare this band to any other; first, as I've said before, that really doesn't do a band justice and I am not going to waste your time trying to be technical like so many other writers do; I don't give a shit about time sigs and breakdowns, I listen to music much in the same way as most of you do; from an enthusiast's perspective.
My final verdict? Warbringer doesn't fuck around, they walk into the saloon, gun the scumbag posers down with a lightning quick draw of the pistols and save the town; true heroes.
First draft, no revisions, off to the presses!
Note: The album is officially released tomorrow but you can pre-order today!