Warfather – The Grey Eminence (Greyhaze Records)Wednesday, 24th August 2016
Warfather’s debut, Orchestrating the Apocalypse, may have had some faults in its production values, but it was easy to hear the killer death metal behind it. There was also some atmospheric moments that pulled the band out of the usual deathly mold and give the tracks some added vitality. With sophomore effort The Grey Eminence, these two features seem to flip-flop. But the overall quality of the sound never falters because of it.
The Grey Eminence was produced by Erik Rutan, and the level of power in the recording compared to the debut is fantastic. It still has a meaty, death metal tone yet the sound is more precise and crisp, really helping to add to the nature of the album (it also gives Tucker’s vocals some added menace). On the other hand, the atmosphere has been diminished this time around, with much of the experimentation being diverted into atypical song structures and riffing patterns. So in more simple terms, it just sounds flat-out heavy, with some intriguing patterns that will keep it from sounding like flavor of the month death metal. And that doesn’t mean that things aren’t pleasantly diverse, with songs bouncing between groovy, chugging monsters like “Headless Servant” (which has a wicked Morbid Angel-esque crawl to it) to the more speed-intense “The Dawning Inquisition.” Many of the songs, such as “Carnage of the Pious” and “Grey Eminence” zip past the 5-6 minute mark, and due to the dynamics and songwriting, never seem like a chore.
Warfather seem tighter and more aggressive with their second outing. The Grey Eminence benefits from a greater sense of focus and seeming to find the true direction that the band was meant to go in. A boosted production doesn’t hurt matters either – this is death metal that you are going to be obliterated by, yet you’ll remember every second of it.