WARBRINGER – Worlds Torn Asunder
We are now a decade into the thrash resurrection (if the Thrash Of The Titans event in 2001 would be the starting point), so for the newer generation putting out studio records, it’s certainly fair to assess the validity of their output against the originators of the movement. For California’s Warbringer, they have faced their share of critical acclaim and disdain, possibly due to their influence well being more of the late 80’s/early 90’s variety with Dark Angel, Demolition Hammer and Viking, straddling the fence between thrash and early death metal. “Worlds Torn Asunder” is the benchmark third full length that will either assert their presence in the scene or possibly signal the leveling off of their creativity and future fan development.
The first thing I noticed about the album would be the darker tones and more natural, pure production values coming from producer Steve Evetts (The Dillinger Escape Plan, Sepultura). The wall of guitar assault on tracks like “Shattered Like Glass” and “Future Ages Gone” illustrates the quintet’s translation of a thousand plus shows over the past few years into certain head banging interactivity. “Treacherous Tongue” is a 2:22 minute demolition burst filled with gang vocals and jackhammer riffs that level your head at every opportunity – along with melodic twin harmonies and a furious bass solo during the song’s concluding moments. Other songs like “Echoes From The Void” and the instrumental “Behind The Veils Of Night” stretch the Warbringer sound with longer segments of clean acoustic and electric interplay, even experimenting with some piano passages to evoke some classical and theatrical depth.
Vocalist John Kevill has one of those raw, barking voices that I know many will put in the love it or leave it category. There are some parts of Slayer and Dark Angel to his syllable emphasis and phrasing, I think his best work coming on the opener “Living Weapon” and “Enemies Of The State”. Warbringer could have taken the easy route and wrote another album that emphasized pit-moving parts and less dynamics – but with “Worlds Torn Asunder” they pushed their creativity beyond their normal death/thrash convention and as a result, could have a longer, headlining future. The closer “Demonic Ecstasy” signals a strong album finish as the tempo navigates maze-like without confusing the listener – and that’s just what I desire in my heavier thrash bands.