If the recent popularization of bands such as DEKAPITATOR and MUNICIPAL WASTE wasnít enough of an indication that Thrash Metal is starting to work its way back into the limelight, WARBRINGERís debut LP, and Century Media debut, "War Without End," should put an end to any doubts you may possess. It is no secret that Century Media tends to follow bands that lean towards the more popular side of Metal (some of their more recent acquisitions include BLESSED BY A BROKEN HEART and ARSONISTS GET ALL THE GIRLS), and I applaud them on their decision to add a little old-school flavour to their roster.
Much like the majority of old-school Thrash revival bands that are around these days, there are plenty of NUCLEAR ASSAULT influences to be found throughout "War Without End". Ultimately, WARBRINGERís sound can best be described as NUCLEAR ASSAULT with an added dose of extremity and a vocalist that sounds nearly identical to Walt Trachsler of ROTTING CORPSE. Essentially, "War Without End" is a no holds barred, in your face Thrash Metal attack, and I wouldnít be the least bit surprised if it launches them to the front of the pack.
The guitar riffs are precise and are exactly what you would expect from an album of this particular genre. There are brief moments of melody such as the melancholic intro to "At The Crack of Doom, and the all-too ephemeral guitar lead featured early on in "Beneath The Waves" (which actually sounds similar to the opening theme song from the Predator game on the NES), but the majority of the guitar work consists of lighting fast, crunchy riffs and solos traded off between John Laux and Adam Carroll.
While he doesnít possess the most unique of vocal snarls on the planet, there is still plenty to admire about John Kevillís vocal performance. As mentioned above, he sounds nearly identical to Walt Trachsler of ROTTING CORPSE for much of the album. However, there are moments where his voice has an almost pre-Death Metal quality to it. Take "Shoot To Kill" for example; his performance here is consistently gritty, and there are very few moments where his vocals sound anything short of POSSESSED style Death Metal vocals. In "Born Of The Ruins" we are treated to a nice little Halford-esque wail before being hammered once again with the non-stop Thrash Metal.
Alas, "War Without End" does feel a little lacking in substance after repeated listens. While I did enjoy the album (especially the first few times I listened to it), repeated listens have caused me to grow a little weary of it. Much like with many of SLAYERís albums, "War Without End" seems to be the kind of album I can only listen to every now and then lest I become exhausted. As much as I love Thrash Metal, and as much as I enjoy "War Without End", I can only recommend it in small doses. With that said, it is an aural assault and if you like SLAYER, or NUCLEAR ASSAULT or anything along those lines, you will most likely love the shit out of this album.
Ultimately, I enjoyed this album less with each listen. That may be because Iíve been playing it constantly for the past week, and Iím suffering from a heavy dose of WARBRINGER overkill, and it certainly doesnít reflect the quality of the music therein. Upon first listen, I was ready to award this album with a 10/10 rating, and if I take a few weeks off from listening to it, Iím sure the next listen will provide me with similar feelings. I doubt WARBRINGER needs any of my promotion though, theyíre already touring with the likes of EXODUS and ARSIS, and they have a slot on the Wacken Open Air festival. It wonít be long before everyone and their mother will be talking about these guys.
(Online February 27, 2008)