Review Summary: Old school thrash metal from a young modern UK band. A solid debut with excellent riffs.
Warpath are a UK-based thrash metal band. They formed in 2003 and released their EP, “Cataclysm” in 2005. They began working on their debut album, “Damnation”, in mid-2007. It was mixed at Kevin Talley’s Studio USA and was mastered by James Murphy (Testament, Death, Obituary).
Damnation is the first single and will probably be the only one. There is a music video for it as well. This song basically defines the rest of the album: shouting vocals, driving guitars, and some technical yet precise drumming. Damnation is a strong opener. Infernal is a riff-driven song with aggressive vocals. There is a part in this song where everything stops and it is just fast and constant double kick for a few seconds. It reminded me of Slayer’s Angel Of Death after the guitar solo. This is a definite highlight of the song as well as the guitar solo. An impressive bass line comes in after the solo so the bass also stood out in this track. WMD stands for Weapons of Mass Deception. The song is introduced with a powerful riff that sounds like it will build up into something even heavier. And it does as the next riff is faster, and has more of a thrashy feel. Guitarists Richard Goss and Pete Hawthorne use pinch harmonics to change things up a bit.
The drumming is also worth mentioning. James Davenport uses quite a bit of different beats throughout the entire album, although he can’t even compare to some other drummers in the genre. Expendable Force is a good example of James' ability. It starts right away with a swing beat and a fairly good riff. There are many tempo changes in this song and they all fit, displaying Warpath's excellent musicianship. This isn't the best album closer but it is still one of the better songs on the album.
The production of the guitars have a big, crunchy sound, and the bass sits well in the mix and is audible. Warpath depend on catchiness in their choruses and I think they have succeeded. Lines like "the fate's been sealed" from Damnation and "weapons of mass deception will lead them to their death" from WMD are just some of the examples. What's really great about "Damnation" is the countless amount of impressive riffs from these two guitarists who are the main force behind this band.
I think Richard Goss can improve his vocals, as he mainly shouts which is again similar to Slayer. It would be nice if there was some more melody in his vocals. The production could have made the vocals sound more intense and violent. The vocals come off as a bit soft. Goss has potential as a singer and this is an aspect that will most likely be improved on for their next album. I would have liked to seen more originality; they are heavily influenced by the old school thrash metal bands and it definitely shows.
Damnation doesn’t deliver anything really original here because they are one of the many bands that are part of the current thrash metal scene. This is still a great record and is worth listening to if you are a fan of old school thrash such as Slayer, Testament, Annihalator, etc. Warpath are currently unsigned yet this album is widely anticipated by magazines and fans.
Richard Goss (vocals, rhythm guitar)
Pete Hawthorne (lead guitar)
Joel Jordan (bass guitar)
James Davenport (drums)