It seems that some modern metal outfits taking up thrash’s proud banner are taking heed of history and lessons well; none more so than California’s Warbringer. They’ve decided to drop-kick people hard with the first opus for their new label Napalm Records since 2013, after saying goodbye to Century Media with Warbringer IV: Empires Collapse. An all-out assault to the senses this is, and one to keep in your heavy 'Album Of The Year' considerations maybe?
The band is tight, a must for this genre, but hard to make seem effortless in it’s more technical twists and turns. The rhythm section is bear-trap tight, and (Adam) Carroll and (Chase) Becker are total smoking axes here; tracks like “Silhouettes”, “Descending Blade”, and “Shellfire” are relentless - especially with John Kevill shrieking “Fire, FIRE!!”. Nothing is more ambitious on this album than “When The Guns Fell Silent” - an ode just over eleven minutes, and also the closest thing to a thrash opera I have heard in a while. A milestone for these guys, and definitely something I would be intrigued to check out live given the chance.
It seems very clear that the boys have put their best foot ahead for this. It’s a concept album of sorts and the blackened thrash speeds are insane, but the degree of musicianship is so high here, that a few listens are nowhere near enough to try and absorb the best of what this has to offer. This is a ‘lifer’ work of art, just hearing the title track alone of this majestic collection of work should honestly be enough to convince you of that. Just shut up and listen, seriously.
Woe To The Vanquished Track Listing:
02. Woe to the Vanquished
03. Remain Violent
05. Descending Blade
06. Spectral Asylum
07. Divinity of Flesh
08. When the Guns Fell Silent