Warbringer – “Weapons Of Tomorrow” (Napalm Records)
Battle Helm Rating
Truly living up to their name, Warbringer have long been touted to bring on the next wave of thrash metal and follow in the footsteps of the great ones. Indeed, when you’ve released 5 prior albums, worked with renowned producers like Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Six Feet Under, Trouble, Morbid Angel, Sacred Reich, Mentors, Lizzy Borden, Dark Angel, Hirax, Armored Saint, Flotsam & Jetsam etc etc) and legendary Exodus guitarist Gary Holt, toured internationally with Megadeth, Arch Enemy, Kreator, Soilwork and Obituary as well as playing festivals like Wacken and Graspop, then you know someone has to know a thing or two about this California band! “Weapons Of Tomorrow”, while sounding clichéd, is in keeping in line with the band’s war theme from their formation in 2004, and given that founding vocalist John Kevill holds a History degree, there’s clearly more to Warbringer’s music and lyrics than meets the eye. Indeed, the material on “Weapons Of Tomorrow” is a far more epic than before, while still sitting comfortably alongside Warbringer’s expected thrash n burn, and is propelled by some of the band’s best musicianship, especially in the outstanding technical wizardry of guitarists Adam Carroll and Chase Becker on the likes of ‘Outer Reaches’. The lyrics follow what Warbringer feel is a unique style, taking the form of narrative story telling, which I guess isn’t a surprise given that Kevill has aspirations of becoming a History professor (!), although – jokes aside – it’s employed wonderfully on the moving (thrash) ballad ‘Defiance Of Fate’. Hitting the detonation button through Carlos Cruz’s blinding drum work, Kevill’s shrill sets the thrash speedway going although nothing can prepare you for the monster hooks and huge catchy riffs that would make Metallica, Megadeth and Testament truly proud and indeed, send a warm ‘n’ fuzzy delight through me before igniting my soul through fiery lyrics like ‘…we’ll build a brighter future with the weapons of tomorrow..and in a searing flash of white…the future looks so bright…’! Drum rolling and then hitting the double bass pedals, Cruz brilliantly introduces ‘Crushed Beneath The Tracks’ with its twin guitars soaking up the reverb and more massively catchy razor riffing before erupting mid song in screams, tremolo wails, hoarse backing shout outs, and blinding fretboard work, although it’s the very tasty guitar melodies from both Carroll and Becker that make Warbringer stand out as a band. With Chris Bryant adding his prominent bass lines to the opening atmosphere of ‘Heart Of Darkness’, its blasting furor and powering melodies see’s the band tangent slightly into melodic death territory where more of their epic glory explodes and given how well they do it while keeping it still thrashy, I’d see this as a welcome addition to Warbringer’s arsenal. Jumping in with titanic riffs on the aptly titled ‘Power Unsurpassed’, propelled by Cruz’s precision double bass beats to lyrics like ‘…second to no one…but first in line to die…violence is addiction…and killing is the vice..’, the twin guitars are simply all over this one, heavily sawing you so blissfully, while machine gunning you with spiraling melodies, fast catchy breaks, tremolo wailing and even some rock n roll (!) as Kevill roars ‘..I will bow down to no one..I will be second to none… NONE..’. And you’d better believe it.