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Warbringer - Woe To The Vanquished album review

Thrash diehards still plying the same line of attack

Cover art for : Warbringer - Woe To The Vanquished album

Has it been nine years since these SoCal metallers first stormed onto the scene with 2008’s War Without End? At a time when Bay Area thrash was enjoying a feverish revival, Warbringer went far beyond simply rehashing the speed-driven riffs and stop-on-a-dime tempos of the old gods, breathing a modern, fist- pumping vitality into their attack.

Produced by Mike Plotnikoff (Fear Factory, In Flames) and mastered by Howie Weinberg (Slayer, Pantera), Woe… lacks neither polish nor force, as heard on pulverising first single Silhouettes. Warbringer continue to do old-school thrash really well and Remain Violent and the title track faithfully evoke the headbanging, beer-sodden pugnacity of a late-80s circlepit. Warbringer’s evolution here, however, is measured in inches rather than miles. The musicianship is there in spades and frontman John Kevill turns in another roaring performance, but while their fifth studio outing delivers all the pounding thrash riffage and machine-gun tempos a thrash freak could want, their aversion to risk feels more pronounced than ever.

Camped out in Southern California, Joe pens features, reviews albums and covers live shows for Metal Hammer and Classic Rock. When he’s not bothering his neighbours with Rammstein, Joe’s typically off playing ice hockey, fumbling around on a bass or letting his dogs guilt him into a nice long walk.