Warbringer – Weapons of Tomorrow (Napalm)Tuesday, 28th April 2020
The post-2000’s resurrection of thrash took place for a couple of reasons – the cancer benefit for Chuck Billy Thrash of the Titans where the old guard got back together in the Bay Area, plus the evolution of a new generation of musicians wanting to create their own stamp on the genre. Most active followers are aware of the footprint Warbringer have left on the scene – now up to their sixth studio full-length for Weapons of Tomorrow, it’s a critical juncture for them to hopefully move up a couple of notches in terms of respect and a bigger community, especially considering the retirement of Slayer.
The 2.0 version of the band has drummer Carlos Cruz, guitarist Adam Carroll, and vocalist John Kevill as the core songwriting team – and they display a dynamic array of arrangements as well as style shifts all under the thrash platform. Sometimes more straightforward and traditional if you will when you hear “The Black Hand Reaches Out” (think late 80’s Exodus) while at other times definitely going into the extreme progressive or deathly terrain for “Unraveling” where the band showcase more of their venomous attack a la Morbid Saint or Demolition Hammer. Bassist Chase Bryant plays a key role in elevating his intricacies, especially in some of the epic songs like “Heart of Darkness” where the band can go from subtle segments into movements that recall classic Bathory. Unlike the last album where the eleven-minute epic “When the Guns Fell Silent” closed the record in progressive, roller-coaster glory, this record has three tracks of the six to seven-minute plus range that allow the quintet to flex their chops – extending some instrumental sections into Maiden-like terrain, the lead breaks from Carroll and Chase Becker fluid, thoughtful, and also filled with plenty of arpeggios and neoclassical fury.
The flow of the record has peaks and valleys – Warbringer adept at knowing that you won’t succeed in creating a dynamic experience if everything is stuck at high speed dimensions. Favorites change by the day (another good sign to the quality) but if putting a high powered weapon to my head and pulling the proverbial trigger, this scribe would take home “Firepower Kills”, the militant “Power Unsurpassed” and harmony-laden “Glorious End” as three winners for an ideal aural funeral. Add in the always gritty Kevill-vocal bite, historical war themes on the lyric front, and a mesmerizing blue/silver cover piece and it’s another high flight Warbringer record – a worthy companion piece to Woe to the Vanquished, sure to appease the hordes again.