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A Band of Orcs - "War Chiefs of the Apocalpyse" (CD)

A Band of Orcs - "War Chiefs of the Apocalpyse" CD cover image

"War Chiefs of the Apocalpyse" track listing:

1. I, Gogog (4:19)
2. WarChiefs of the Apocalypse (5:22)
3. Bring Out Your Dead (4:42)
4. Procreation (of the Wicked) (4:31)
5. Disassembly Line (Instrumental) (6:19)
6. Descent (1:40)
7. Into the Maelstrom (5:02)

Reviewed by on October 31, 2008

"Another track of note is “Dissamebly Line,” which is listed in the lyric insert as an instrumental. If that instrument is unrelenting brutal death, then yes, it’s correct."

Well, it finally happened. World of Warcraft has officially become the overlord of the universe. It is now so predominant that it has even spawned something as obscure as a death metal band. A couple of World of Warcraft addicts from California pulled themselves away from their computer screens and crawled out of their darkened basements to get together for a jam session and ended up making a band formed entirely around the concept of battle hungry orcs on the war path. Despite the dubious beginnings, A Band of Orcs delivers an overwhelmingly destructive death metal experience, even if it is a little nerdy. Just don’t call them nerds to their faces, because these guys wield battle axes just as well as they play guitar.

Forget about the Tolkien-inspired bands that deal heavily with green skinned monstrosities like Blind Guardian or Battlelore. Those orcs are pansies in comparison to these bloodthirsty dogs that just want to tear their enemies apart with their bare hands and then rape some captive elf maidens. Blowing plenty of speakers in the process is just a nice little added bonus. Opening track “I, Gogog” gives a perfect example of what to expect all throughout the album, with fast and heavy dual guitars, frenzied blasting drums, and a combination of ultra-low, deep death growls and higher pitched distorted snarls screaming out an orc’s desire to kill. The first of many head spinning and stylish guitar solos makes its appearance about three-quarters of the way through the song, which then ends with genre appropriate lightning fast drum work. The drumming in general on “War Chiefs of the Apocalypse” is pretty much uniformly fast and furious. There are blast beats galore, but they do get reined in from time to time for the sake of adding some melody and contrast.

It’s a well known fact of orcish culture that the beasts revere their ancestors and worship those who have attained more feats of brutality in combat, so it’s no surprise that there is a cover of Celtic Frost’s “Procreation of the Wicked” placed at the middle of the album. Some might consider that an act of blasphemy for an upstart band, but good luck to anyone who would want to express that opinion to an orc war party. Another track of note is “Dissamebly Line,” which is listed in the lyric insert as an instrumental. If that instrument is unrelenting brutal death, then yes, it’s correct. The song has all of the frantic and empowering energy of more popular metal bands without sacrificing much of the hate. There is a brief respite and slow down for a bass solo two minutes in, but before long it's back to face-crushing business as usual. It’s unfortunate that the bass is kept so low in the mix, or completely overpowered by the dual guitars for the most part, as the bass part is quite good. Unfortunately this bass solo is just about the only time in the entire album when that instrument can be heard.

To prepare for their grand finale, there is a minute and a half interlude next of a growing marching drum beat meant to bring the hordes in line and organize for their final assault. The ending track doesn’t disappoint, taking all of the elements of ferocity that had been building up for the entire album and letting them explode in an apocalyptic ending battle.

“War Chiefs of the Apocalypse” is one part Metalocalypse, one part World of Warcraft, a dash of Dethklok, and several buckets of freshly harvested elf ears. Fans of fast paced death metal who don’t mind a band that dresses up in elaborate costumes and has an over the top video game influence should enjoy just about everything the album has to offer.

Highs: Dual guitars, lightning fast drumming, and occasional melody

Lows: Bass is mostly inaudible and the whole concept is a little over the top

Bottom line: Fast and furious dual guitar death metal. With orcs.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)