Realm
Endless War


4.5
superb

Review

by DePlazz USER (2 Reviews)
March 18th, 2017 | 24 replies


Release Date: 1988 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Thrash+. Or make a sentence with 'masterpiece', 'overlooked', 'power/tech thrash'.

Unlike in many cases, as musical references to other bands accumulate while one is listening to an album, with Realm's Endless War these similarities team up to create a reassuring frame for assessing the band's genuine quality, rather than prompting to write them off as a generic epigone. The reason for this is simple: Realm is good. Thus, during the first aural encounters with their 1988 debut, genealogical lines from Mercyful Fate and the NWOBHM over Metal Church to Agent Steel and even Slayer will readily pop to mind, as will a close technical and aesthetic kinship with metal contemporaries such as Toxik, Watchtower and Annihilator. Discussing Realm primarily in terms of overlap with these other acts, however, would do injustice to the distinct musical identity the band has undeniably succeeded in carving out for itself. This being said, while never roaming far off recognizable thrash paths, what Endless War showcases is definitely Thrash+. With '+' comprising a range of qualifiers from 'power' over 'prog' to 'catchy' and 'tech': in the realm of power-infused technical thrash with more than a fair share of prog, Realm found the perfect innovative blend for an unforgettable dynamic delivery.

Endless War has a pervasive sense of urgency; it breathes intensity from start to finish. While the title track and Slay The Oppressor propel the listener head-first into the first half with tremendous momentum, by the time one gets through the tempo and mood switches of Eminence and Fate's Wind, Root Of Evil already chases on past the halfway mark, but not before a hyperkinetic thrash rendition of the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby pops up as an unexpected interlude (in case you are wondering why it is featured on Endless War, it was the track that got Realm their album deal with Roadrunner). The pace is relentlessly maintained right up until Poisoned Minds, which is perhaps best described as - in hindsight - Rush gone Aspid.

If the energy on this album is next level, so are composition and instrumentation. To put it intuitively, tracks tend to develop according to one or two thrashy blueprints that settle easily into the ear, only to take unexpected turns and original re-turns, but never at the price of catchiness and dynamics. Likewise, although evidence of instrumental and metrical mastery abounds throughout - Laganowski and Kinis never stop riffing, harmonizing and soloing, while Olson's pounding drums and Post's fingerpicked bass riffs complement the guitars all in showcasing their own character and craftsmanship -, technical acrobatics will never take dominance over melodic flow (see e.g. Second Coming, All Heads Will Turn To The Hunt, bonus track Theseus And The Minotaur). What puts Realm's songwriting in the top-tier of power/tech/prog thrash is that it succeeds in masking cerebral jazziness with deceptive simplicity. Production follows suit with a balanced mix where each instrument is equally distinguishable next to what really tops this album off: the vocals. In the same range as Toxik's Mike Sanders or Watchtower's Alan Tecchio but with a more accessible timbre, Mark Antoni's effortless shrieks deliver heroic, take no prisoner pathos without ever becoming pathetic. These are high-pitched power thrash vocals done exactly as they should be done, contributing the right color to the dynamic mood of each song.

In the band's own words, when Realm formed, it "set out with a clear objective to create music that was heavy, futuristic sounding, and complicated in a simple sort of way". A prophetic statement, as the appeal and energy of Endless War (and its successor Suiciety, for that matter) remain untouched to this day. Incidentally, for those tracing the musical ancestry of modern progressive thrash bands like Vektor, Endless War provides material to fill in at least some of the remaining hiatuses. If you think that is a bold statement, just compare Root Of Evil with Venus Project from Vektor’s Outer Isolation.


user ratings (49)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
DePlazz
March 18th 2017


643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Constructive criticism most welcome. As are comments on this album, which really has me hooked.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2017


10452 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

At last! Great choice for a review, man. I wish more more guys check this overlooked gem.

ChaoticVortex
March 18th 2017


473 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Great choice, very underrated and excellent tech-thrash. Was actually thinking that I would do a review on this, but you filled the gap in well.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
March 18th 2017


7547 Comments


For some reason, I don't enjoy this album as much as other tech thrash albums that came during those times.

I think it's the over-the-top vocals that rub me the wrong way.

That said, I haven't heard this in a very long time, I should revisit this soon.

Maco097
March 18th 2017


2410 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

What's this? A review for a rare and almost unknown thrash metal band?



Let the circle jerk begin.



Sabrutin
March 18th 2017


4412 Comments


The Beatles cover rocks so hard

Digging: Paradise Lost - Medusa

DePlazz
March 18th 2017


643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

@manosg & @ChaoticVortex: Thanks. Been listening to this non stop lately, these guys really deserved a thread!



@Voivod: this type of vocals is indeed an acquired taste and didn't click with me neither until a couple of years ago, although I grew up listening to metal. But once you get past Tecchio on Control and Resistance (or Sanders, Sabin in Toxik), these become quite enjoyable.



"Let the circle jerk begin" - Let's not get overexcited now shall we



"The Beatles cover rocks so hard": yeah, can't decide whether it's genious or hilarious - probably both

bloc
March 18th 2017


43004 Comments


Vocals always kinda turned me off, but the music is top notch

DePlazz
March 18th 2017


643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Yeah couple years back I could never have imagined myself praising this kind of vox, but tastes can change

ffs
March 18th 2017


5246 Comments


cool, surprised this didn't have a review. pretty good album

tempest--
March 18th 2017


20467 Comments


nice, i've only heard this a couple times, not super familiar with it but it is pretty rad

evilford
March 18th 2017


40502 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

fucking sweet, one of my fav thrash albums, pos'd ahrdddddd

DePlazz
March 19th 2017


643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks m/

parksungjoon
March 19th 2017


5301 Comments


dude fucking oath

posd so hard u wont even believe

DePlazz
March 19th 2017


643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Cheers m8

KILL
March 19th 2017


80846 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

wait this def had a review i swear on me nan

StrikeOfTheBeast
March 20th 2017


1119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Finally got a review, and a good one! Have a pos'





DePlazz
March 21st 2017


643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Cool tx

Mister Twister
July 13th 2017


2489 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

what the fuck why were you guys hiding this from me this is the tits

DePlazz
July 13th 2017


643 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Metal! Check Suiciety as well, it's equally good



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