Review Summary: The heroes have appeared.
Homogenization is bad. If every album available starts to sound overly similar, even if of a respectable quality, progressively fewer and fewer bands of true merit appear. This leads to stagnation of the genre. Thrash metal is one of the biggest victims in the modern metal scenes. Many bands have appeared nowadays with the same typical formulas, and wind up in the same pitfalls that keep them from attaining acclaim. Bands such as Havok, Gama Bomb, and Evile wind up blending into one another, and come off as boring. Bands such as Vektor have found their stride in standing out from the herd by using high-pitched shrieked vocals, and a more "sci-fi" feeling about the music. Another band which has crafted an astounding work of modern thrash is Fog of War. On their self-titled debut, they capture the spirit of thrash metal while throwing their own unique elements that put them heads and shoulders above their adversaries.
Anything one would look for going into a thrash metal album can be found right off the bat. Riffs, quick tempo, aggression, you name it, it can be heard. Riffs are absolutely everywhere, and never relent in their assault upon the ears. They are also fairly unique, and varied enough so that the album never gets stale. The pace is high as well, which will please any fans. There is enough rage behind the performances to power the album along very effectively. Of course, the album also knows how to have fun, with tracks such as Six-Packin' Heat
being fairly obvious songs meant for just plain partying or moshing, and successfully evoking these feelings of simply having a great time thrashing.
The performances presented are absolutely phenomenal. As mentioned, riffs are everywhere, and often quite technical and quick, which is very aurally pleasing. Showcases of the true skill of the guitarist are present in many area such as Blood of a Thousand Suns
. The drumming holds pace well and gets enough shining moments to make it clear that the drummer knows what he is doing. Unlike some cases, the bassist is actually very clearly audible. The higher focus on the bass work adds significantly to the album, and many instances of quick grooves can be heard throughout, which adds another layer of depth to the album. The vocalist is somewhat of an anomaly. With high-pitched power screams mixed in with the typical angry yelling to be found within the genre, he is definitely not the shining point of the band. However, once one properly adjusts to his tone and feeling, the album truly begins to shine its brightest.
Another nice thing about the album is that it contains some elements not always found within thrash metal. Tracks such as the title track show a more melodic side of the band, which continually shows up throughout the album. This has been attempted by other bands, but in most cases it falls flat and feels like a shoehorned effort that was poorly executed. However, it fits in well here, and feels as though it was written in naturally within the song. Another concept sometimes tried by other thrash bands which does not work is holding a mid-paced song. Bands such as Evile have shown that sometimes a mid-tempo track is just beyond the grips of their songwriting ability, and their slower tracks wind up feeling plodding. Fog of War does not fall into this trap. Tracks such as Kills on Contact
show how to properly perform this type of song. The slower parts of the song act as a sort of build-up for the faster sections, and as a result the faster sections feel more rewarding.
Overall, one simply cannot go wrong with Fog of War.
Anything a thrasher could ever want is found in overwhelming supply on this exceptional release. Expertly blending elements out of the ordinary, Fog of War stands far above the rest, and reveals what it truly means to thrash.
Kills on Contact
Blood of a Thousand Sons