Warbringer, a revivalist thrash metal band, have been generally well received by critics and thrash fans alike. What is it about Warbringer that sets them apart from the rest of the revivalist pack? Their music isn’t innovative and it isn’t anything different or new, yet somehow their music sounds just as fresh as the classic thrash metal bands of the 80’s.
After two albums of modern thrash metal, Warbringer drops their new album, “Worlds Torn Asunder.” One may get the impression that they might have changed up their sound a little bit on their third album, considering they’re a fairly new band and their first two weren’t much different from each other. Maybe they would get bored of the same old formula; maybe they hadn’t found their final niche yet. To the contrary, this is where they feel at home: on the chaotic, war torn battlefield of thrash metal. All of the same characteristics are in play here: the cheesy, rhymed lyrics about death, war, and the apocalypse, the shredding guitars, and the hyperactive drums. So why, after three albums with almost no variation, does this album not sound tired and rehashed? Some bands can get away with this, and it is only because of two reasons: stellar songwriting and a youthful passion and vigor for making music that they love. That is what makes it sound fresh. There are a handful of bands that can keep beating on the same dead horse for years and still make great music because of those two attributes, and Warbringer have them in spades. I was convinced after hearing their second album that a third one would be a snooze fest of monotony if they didn’t change something, anything. But after the first two tracks on “Worlds Torn Asunder” blasted by, I was proven wrong.
The songs themselves are very similar to each other. In fact, this album might have the least variety out of all three of them. Sure, that sounds like a bad thing, but in this case it helps the album. They keep the momentum going nonstop with almost no breaks. It makes you feel like marching into battle with the band. Frankly, it will pump you the *** up. “Worlds Torn Asunder” could almost be compared to a good summer movie: little depth made up with thrills and some damn good fun. The best riffs of their career are on this album, shredding their way through song after song with the harsh vocals keeping up with the fast pace, pushing and forcing apocalyptic imagery into your mind. There is one instrumental, “Behind the Veils of Night.” It’s a thrash metal album, so it must be some throwaway acoustic interlude, right? Wrong. Yes, it’s an acoustic interlude, and they even use a piano, but for the first time while listening to an interlude for a straightforward metal band, I feel like it actually added something to the record. It’s a decent piece with some nice progression that doesn’t sound like it was thrown together in a couple minutes.
The drums are still tight as ever, but the best thing is that they don’t sound like a machine. The drumming sounds very human, and the excellent production makes the drums stand out without drowning out all of the other instruments, and you can hear each and every cymbal crash, every snare drum punch, and every kick drum kick with perfect clarity. The production gives the album a slightly gritty and grimy feel. It’s definitely modern sounding and clear, but it’s got a little edge to it.
If after all of this praise and no criticism, you’re asking, “Why is it only a four if it’s so good?” the answer is simple: it’s been done before, it’s nothing new or different, and it’s something we’ve all heard before. And to put it bluntly, I don’t think an album with those attributes should go much higher than a four, especially if there is not any effort whatsoever to make something different. Its greatest characteristic is also its flaw.
If you decide to give this a listen, don’t go into it expecting it to blow your mind with fancy innovation or progressive passages or artsy lyrics and songwriting. Expect it to blow your mind with sheer velocity and force. Just have fun with it. Turn up the volume and throw up the horns while you head bang away to this magnificent thrash metal. This is Warbringer’s best album to date.