With as many new Thrash acts that are invading the mainstream of the genre who deserve to be there, there are going to be those acts who are looked over. It happened in the 80s (just gander at CORONER) and it’s happening today. Let’s look at WARPATH as a prime example of this. Their debut “Damnation” is a wickedly effective modern Thrash opus that defies the odds and yet it has been almost four years before I heard about it.
“Damnation” is one of those albums that embraces two worlds of Thrash. It significantly pulls from the classic Bay Area 80s style of melding melody with the chaotic efficiency of its Punk influences while never losing the 90s style of riff first structures and groovy rhythms. With its strong band chemistry, it’s a style that works brilliantly for the band.
Songs like the opener “Damnation”, the rhythm heavy “Spitting Blood”, and the chorus fun “Infernal” all highlight WARPATH’s ability to blend the two different Thrash ideologies. The riffs pummel with triplet intensity while a second lead wraps some melodic touches into the mix. The modern production helps bring the bass up as a fun layer in the mix and gives the drums their bass kick swing in combination to the standard Thrash sound. Although the vocals come off as a bit hollow in their low key shouted style (if he adds a melodic cap to some of the lines it would have jacked them to the next level), the band rides a solid performance that makes the rather formulaic writing pale to the fun energy they produce.
Thrash fans are sure to enjoy “Damnation” with its blend of modern rhythms and old school chemistry even if it lacks a bit of the more creative writing that could have lifted it up as one of the best underground releases of the recent movement. It’s still an inspiring debut and it carries with it a significant potential that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Songs to check out: “Damnation”, “Infernal”, “Expendable Forces”.
(Online April 24, 2012)