This album represents an evolution for NO REMORSE NO RETREAT. The band's last album, “To Glory We Ride,” was a Punk-influenced Heavy Metal album lyrically focused on Vikings, with a kind of biker feel to it. The production was a bit raw, though not overly so, and the overall sound was hard, but not very heavy. With their latest release, the band have discovered bass and guitar effects, and put them to good use, and in the process create a sound that is much meatier than their debut.
Immediately noticeable on “Warbringer” is the emphasis on a deeper sound. The bass plays a much more prominent role this time around. Furthermore, the band seem to have added some chunkier distortion effects, for the guitar tone has a much fuller quality to it. This sounds more like a Metal album should, and the presence of more bottom-end gets the adrenaline pumping.
Vocally, this album shows a growth toward a more aggressive tone. Whereas previously, the unnamed vocalist sounded remarkably like Joe Strummer at times, on “Warbringer,” there is a fuller, more gravelly timber to his performance. The effect is to transition the attitude of the vocals from one of just being pissed off, to one in which the singer sounds truly more menacing.
Lyrically, there is little change from “To Glory We Ride.” The listener is served up repeated doses of simplistic odes to Viking trope and bloated masculinity. NO REMORSE NO RETREAT are not going to be recognized among the greatest storytellers in the Viking Metal scene, to be sure, and fans of the more serious, traditional variety may want to look elsewhere. However, the lyrics are not really the attraction for this album; they merely provide a vehicle for the vocalist to do his thing. The words can be promptly and safely forgotten after the conclusion of the album without detracting from its enjoyment.
All in all, the band seem to have found their voice on this release. They have definitely moved in a more Metal direction, and the amount of growth in the span of only one album augurs positively for this band's development in the future.
(Online March 25, 2010)