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Warbringer - "War Without End" (CD)

Warbringer - "War Without End" CD cover image

"War Without End" track listing:

1. Total War
2. Systematic Genocide
3. Dread Command
4. Hell On Earth
5. At The Crack Of Doom
6. Beneath The Waves
7. Instruments Of Torture
8. Shoot To Kill
9. Born Of The Ruins
10. Combat Shock

Reviewed by on February 22, 2008

"this war machine is made for your stereo, not your mp3 player"

Thrash is often a term thrown around to describe many aspects of metal; it's the meat in the sandwich of most modern metal bands and unfortunately used recklessly in descriptions of bands. But back in the early 80's, bands like Exodus, Slayer, Metallica and Overkill gave the word a definition marked with extremity. Now in 2008, the purity of thrash is once again being restored by remarkably young bands such as Violator, Bonded By Blood, Evile and Warbringer. Hell yes. Which brings us round trip to Warbringer's full-length debut, "War Without End."

Right from the start this album makes no mistakes about what it is; all balls, no frills aggressive thrash reminiscent of Exodus, Demolition Hammer, or Kreator. After the war drums invite us to the party of "Total War," a solo strikes with unmistakable intensity and volume letting you know you're in for hell. "Thrash" bands like Trivium could learn a lesson or ten from Warbringer; the first being, if you have the chops, the solos should be center stage and full volume. Resonant of "Kill Em All," they come out of every nook and cranny not packed with riff extremity, with guitarists John Laux and Adam Carroll showing the reckless abandon of flamethrower wielding warmongers in their quest for guitar heroism. This album is fast, tight, and young talent is on show. Legendary thrash producer Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Dark Angel, Sacred Reich, Rigor Mortis and more) shows he's worthy of praise once more because this album sounds great -- this war machine is made for your stereo, not your mp3 player.

However, I did think John Kevill's vocals deserved a clearer spot in the mix if for nothing but to highlight the classic lyrics on show. From shark attacks to Satan to warfare, they hit the nail on the head. The vocals eschew trends of light death-metal growls in favor of a vicious, agonized crossover shout which is perfect for the tracks on "War Without End." The drums are probably the purest and most hostile thing on offer, with the black metal blast beats on "At the Crack of Doom," which is the only divergence from the uncompromising thrash-metal velocity. If I knew more synonyms for aggression I'd be using them to describe this LP.

So thrash has risen from the grave to declare war on the posers once more -- what could be better, right? Well, unfortunately, as purist detractors of the exploding "retro thrash" scene have pointed out, there is a fair amount of ritual worship (especially of Exodus) and riff emulation behind the excellent productions. Warbringer is not immune to these accusations and this is the biggest downfall of the album. The constant attack leads to an air of similarity in songs, and in the first spin through you may feel "Combat Shock" sounds a lot like "Instruments of Torture"... or "Hell on Earth" for that matter. While the comparison to Exodus is undeniable (chorus of "Dread Command" anyone?), it is also completely forgivable and more importantly negligible.

After repeat spins this album just keeps getting better. The aggressive nature is infectious and the forceful thrash assault, vicious vocals, and shred solos hold true for all of "War Without End." Tracks like "Total War," "Beneath The Waves," and "Dread Command" are classic thrash songs that will have you banging your head, mercifully for no longer than four minutes at a time. Ode to Satan "At the Crack of Doom" gives us some diversity with an acoustic intro, but bar that the band has one message and one only -- violent, energetic thrash metal in the name of warfare. For young metalheads looking to experience real thrash, this is one hell of a good place to start, and for all others, this is one war you do not want to miss.

Highs: Unrelenting aggresion with all the pieces of the great thrash metal puzzle

Lows: Lack of dynamics from track to track and Exodus worship

Bottom line: A superb debut from a band relentless in the quest for classic thrash domination

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)