Release date: September 27, 2011
Thrash. Get used to that word because you’ll see it a lot. No matter what kind of metalhead you are, you know exactly what thrash is and you most definately own Slayer‘s thrash masterpiece Reign In Blood and Metallica‘s iconic metal juggernaught Master Of Puppets, both released in 1986. If you don’t, hang your horns in shame and go and purchase them, for it is a crime against all that is metal. It is impossible to find a metal band who can cite their influences without mentioning one (if not both) of these incredible records. Megadeth, Kreator, and the almighty Iron Maiden also released some of their greatest albums in that very same year. It was, without any doubt, the year that thrash took over the World. Since the early 90’s however, thrash has taken a back seat to grunge, nu metal and the ever-rising age of hardcore, deathcore and a thousand other ‘core’-based forms of heavy metal.
But wait, what’s that I hear on the horizon? Why it’s the faint sound of the thrash resurgance and holy shit is it getting louder. Jousting the thrash metal flag into the air on the frontline is Warbringer with their scorching third album Worlds Torn Asunder.
It feels like 1986 all over again as thrash comes full circle with bands such as Warbringer, Evile and the titans that are Machine Head leading the way. Worlds Torn Asunder is the album that old school metal fans have been waiting for since the majority of the genre was handed down to the eye-liner-wearing youth of the alternate age. Warbringer prove that even after the millenium, thrash can rise above and cast a leather and denim-clad shadow over the metal landscape.
“Open fire!”, the first words of the album’s opening track “Living Weapon” give you an exact idea of what you’re in for. The intense combination of chugging guitars and thumping drums will stop you in your tracks and pummel you into paying full attention to the fact that your speakers are vibrating themselves off the shelf. When you’ve replaced them and fixed the new ones down with extra-durable tape, you’re treated to the early Slayer-esque vocals of John Kevill. It’s almost as if these American metallers had captured a piece of late 80’s metal in a jar and let it loose. There’s nothing more satisfying than the wailing screams that were typical of Tom Araya.
“Shattered Like Glass” has an unbelievably satisfying introduction that will please any fan of drumming excellence and palm-muted chuggage. Heads will certainly bang for this track, but it isn’t until you hear “Wake Up… Destroy!” that you realise the significance of this record and the role it will play in the resurfacing of the thrash era. The battle-heavy lyrics haul you into the heat of war and you can’t help but grab a weapon and join the frontline infantry to chant the track’s title. Immediately you can imagine how this riff-riddled war cry would sound at a live venue. I’ve spent a good ten minutes daydreaming about it.
The album is well-paced, showing that thrash metal is all about speed and pure rage, which is evident in “Savagery” and “Enemies Of The State”. “Behind The Veils Of Night” is an unwelcome breather but after such a surging, energetic onslaught of metality, it is perhaps more of a necessity. It is a somber instrumental piece featuring acoustic guitar and a piano, which is a vast digression from the rest of the record. Instrumental tracks are a common occurance within music of many genres, even Metallica‘s Master Of Puppets contained an instrumental track in the form of the legendary Cliff Burton’s “Orion”. However, “Behind The Veils Of The Night” isn’t even close to being in the same vein, or the same body for that matter. Not to discredit the track itself, but it feels more like an album introduction, lulling you in before you’re battered about the head like a punchbag. Instead, the acoustic 3-minuter precedes the final track and feels more like an interruption than a piece of instrumental beauty.
“Demonic Ecstacy” concludes Warbringer‘s third metal assault, and I’ll honestly be shocked if you don’t immediately play the whole CD again. Worlds Torn Asunder is one hell of an album. Steve Evetts’ (Sepultura) production is solid and tightly bound. New drummer Carlos Cruz is the pounding backbone while guitarists John Laux and Adam Carroll provide the ammunition in the form of pure thrash riffness. Andy Laux boasts a chunky, raw bass prescence which refuses to be unheard. If we are indeed experiencing the resurrection of thrash metal, Warbringer are proving to be a leading force, standing up for the classic thrash we know and love with a record that will rip its way through ear drums across the World.
Expect Warbringer to tour with vetern thrash warriors such as Exodus and Testament in the near future, as well as appearing on the festival circuit. Thrash metal is recruiting once again, and you can sure as hell sign me up.