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Warbringer - Weapons of Tomorrow

Discussion in 'Metal Reviews' started by PotentialBand, Apr 28, 2020.

  1. PotentialBand

    PotentialBand New Metal Member

    Apr 23, 2020
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    California based thrash band Warbringer is back with their 6th studio album; “Weapons of Tomorrow”, the first to feature new bass player, Chase Bryant. Warbringer hails from the thrash resurgence era, during which time it had become temporarily trendy to be in a thrash band. However, unlike other bands in the scene, Warbringer was far more than just a torch-bearer of the past, as they brought an new hyper-aggressive approach to thrash, with a plethora of groove and brutality. Warbringer, along with bands such as Havok and Revocation took the genre in a new direction, one that feels distinct from the 80’s scenes.

    Overall, “Weapons of tomorrow” is a strong but rather “expected” Warbringer release. The band does try things - and while there is a core of impactful songs- much of the record feels like an extension of 2017’s “Woe to the Vanquished”.

    One piece of the puzzle that falls flat on this album are the shorter and more typical “thrashy” songs, such as “Unraveling” or “Power Unsurpassed”. These stay much within the Warbringer “box”; very typical of their riff style, very safe song structure, and not many new elements being experimented with. While the performances are good, the overall compositions lack energy and feel a bit uninspired when compared to previous works such as “Woe to the Vanquished”, “Worlds Torn Asunder” or “Waking into Nightmares.”

    Perhaps one of the best things about the aforementioned “Woe to the Vanquished” was the closer “When the Guns Fell Silent”. Long and theatrical were new aspects for Warbinger, who up until that point, had mostly stuck with the short and fast thrash bangers; however the band pulled it off flawlessly, delivering a fantastic and captivating tale that built up tension till the grand finale. Coming in at 11:11, the song barely felt its length and was enjoyable the whole time. Their songwriting style translated surprisingly well into a more winding and narrative format, featuring lots of emotional harmonies and reflective mid tempo riffs. This ability to be diverse helped separate themselves from other thrash acts.

    On “Weapons of Tomorrow” fortunately, this element is back in full force. Heard in songs such as “Defiance of Fate” where once again we get the epic lament of war, featuring longer passages of clean guitars and lots of catchy and melancholy riffs. “Glorious End” is another song that partially borrows this structure, entering with reflective and inspiring harmonies, hitting hard with faster thrash riffs in the middle, and finally building up into an epic and trudging climax where our protagonist falls, bringing the album to a thematically close.

    Perhaps the most standout feature of the performances on “Weapons of Tomorrow” are the vocals. John Kevill’s vocals are always strikingly intense; however this time they are back with a bit of a twist, as there is now a very palpable black metal influence. John conjures up a raspy, grasping, and aggressive screech, with lots of high screams, gritty snarls and even some deranged laughter. The vocals fit the ongoing themes of the “glory” and brutality of war perfectly, delivered almost as if someone was barking commands on a battlefield.

    While the production here is not as heavy as some of their previous albums, it is still quite good. On the bad side; the guitars and drums do feel a tad thin, and the bass could stand to be more audible. On the good side; the mix does put a spotlight on the vocals, which have been brought quite prominently to the front. This, when combined with the expressive performances of John Kevill, helps to personalize and emphasize the themes of the human experience of war and death.

    A solid thrash album; although some of the traditional style elements may have worn out their welcome at this point, there are still new ideas mixed that keep it fresh and exciting.

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