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Grief of War - "Worship" (CD)

Grief of War - "Worship" CD cover image

"Worship" track listing:

1.Crack Of Doom (5:16)
2.Disorder (4:10)
3.Captured Soul Eternity (3:24)
4.New Kind Of Wicked (4:15)
5.Revolt (2:50)
6.Built My Brain (4:49)
7.Worship (5:05)
8.Into The Void (3:41)
9.Midnight Sun (6:06)
10.Lost (4:11)

Reviewed by on July 8, 2009

"'Worship' is exactly what thrash metal fans desire; a punishing and relentless sound that has old-school flavor tattooed all over it."

America relies on Japan for a ton of things; automobiles, video games, cheap toys, cool robots that do things like dance and pick up laundry. One of the few things that this industrious country is not known for is their thrash metal output. Usually sticking to our neck of the woods or across the Atlantic in Europe, there have been very few successful bands that have emerged from Japan. While bands like Sabbat and Doom have had long-standing careers in their home countries, only the most underground fans of the genre even recognized their existence outside of Japan.

Grief Of War is the next big thrash unit in Japan, getting the attention of thrashaholics with their 2005 debut “A Mounting Crisis...As Their Fury Got Released.” Re-released in 2008 by Prosthetic Records, the band has a wave of momentum leading into their sophomore effort, “Worship.” For most people, this album will be the first taste of Grief Of War and their unique “samurai crunch.” They say that first impressions are the most important; in that aspect, the band has nothing to worry about. “Worship” is exactly what thrash metal fans desire; a punishing and relentless sound that has old-school flavor tattooed all over it.

Opener “Crack Of Doom” starts out with basic riffing, but devolves into sheer chaos, with aggressive shouts and growls as the catalyst. The thrash break halfway through is a head banger’s delight, sounding like something from the Exodus workshop circa “Pleasures Of The Flesh.” The song is a little long, a songwriting flaw that rears its ugly head later on in the album with the back-to-back “Built My Brain” and title track. The songs are structured well, but seem to drag near the end. On the other hand, the epic six-minute “Midnight Sun” is able to hold the listener's attention the whole time, with a slow opener leading into an out-right barn burner. The extended instrumental outro that concludes the track is a nice touch, with an emphasis on the lead guitar work.

“Worship” hits its stride with the quick numbers “Captured Soul Eternity,” “Revolt,” and scorching closer “Lost.” Taking a no-bullshit approach, Grief Of War goes in guns-a-blazing and doesn’t even attempt to add any sonic experimentation, which is hardly an issue. The guitar playing is strong in these tracks, with solid riff progression and solos to boot. Korn live guitarist Shane Gibson even lends his shredding skills to “Into The Void.” Korn and shredding guitars usually don’t go together, but Gibson shows off his talent on this track with one of the best solos on “Worship.” Like Mark Tremonti in Creed, Gibson hides his true guitar potential very well.

The rhythm section gets a boost from the quality production job, especially the bass, which gets its own lead section in “Captured Soul Eternity” and has a constant presence throughout “Worship.” The vocals are the only weak point on the album, lacking any power and sounding unclear and indistinguishable at times. While the growls are decent, the shouts don’t do much to impress.

“Worship” may be from a Japanese band, but it has an American/British flavor to it. A lot of Grief Of War’s sound can be attributed to those who shaped the thrash landscapes in the 80s, including Whiplash, Metallica, and Testament. Originality may not be a key aspect of “Worship,” but the band takes the core elements of all these bands and adds their own twist to it. “Worship” won’t astound thrash fans who are avid followers of the underground scene, but those looking for a quick fix can follow the title of the album and bow to the new kings of Japanese thrash, Grief Of War.

Highs: Insane speedy thrash tunes, great production, bass perfect in the mix, avoids sounding dated.

Lows: Vocals are hard to decifer, some of the longer songs could have been cut down.

Bottom line: Solid thrash that doesn't screw around and provides an outlet for thrash fans to get their aggression out.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)