WARBRINGER - Woe To The Vanquished

Warbringer - Woe To The Vanquished

8 songs
40:55 minutes
***** ***


Californian band Warbringer nearly took the title of their last album IV: Empires Collapse too literally. A short year after its release, the guitarist and the drummer left, leaving the band in shambles. Vocalist John Kevill, only remaining member from the original line-up from 2004, stayed on board and despite even more members quitting still managed to hire new musicians, among others two erstwhile members from his band.

Fortunately, the quality hasnít suffered under this patchwork system. The fifth album Woe To The Vanquished comes four years after its predecessor, which is understandable, considering the circumstances. And still it is a very strong statement. Silhouettes, the first video clip, is a stead mid-tempo rocker that convinces with its very powerful production. The band can also play differently, as can be heard on the Slayer-like title track, the probably fastest and most hectic piece on the album. Despite its elevated pace, it finds the time and the place for a surprisingly melodic guitar solo set among the brutal killer riffs. The second video single Remain Violent shows Warbringer from their less aggressive side, but on Shellfire they are putting the pedal on the metal once again.

The songs are generally quite short, and it is one of Warbringerís strengths that they always come immediately to the point. Spectral Asylum, at five and a half minutes one of the albumís longer tracks, is a personal highlight. The band is acting more dramatic and atmospheric than on the shorter tracks, offering a pleasant contrast program. Only the concluding When The Guns Fall Silent is longer with its eleven minutes running time. At first I thought this was a classic case of hidden bonus track scam, but I was mistaken. The band is playing from beginning to end and offer once again their entire repertoire. Maybe it is a few minutes too long for its own good, but spoken word samples, keyboard and acoustic part make for some moody moments.

Until recently, Warbringer were a typical second league thrash metal band. Woe To The Vanquished may change this, because this album has all it takes to allow the band to climb higher. If the band continues to improve like this, they will soon be a household name among international thrash metal fans.

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