Warbringer – Woe To The Vanquished

Warbringer has a new record, Woe To The Vanquished, being released on March 31st on Napalm Records; this is the Ventura, California thrashers’ fifth studio album. I had the opportunity to see them last week in San Francisco at the DNA Lounge with fellow thrashers Exmortus and Havok, and what a treat it was.

As much as I enjoyed everybody’s set that night and, with all due respect to the other bands, I couldn’t help but feel Warbringer stole the show. Quite simply, Warbringer had a much harder edge to their live set than the others did. And what I really appreciated as a metal fan was that they may have only played roughly a 50-minute set but managed to include four new songs from their upcoming album, and the crowd ate them up.

Woe To The Vanquished is a fine example that a thrash band can be more than chunky riffs and neck breaking grooves. Warbringer has a little bit of everything on this new record and the evolution of the band is very refreshing to see. Below are a few songs that really stood out to me and help lend credit to my statement about the band’s diversity.

The first track is called “Silhouettes” and it sets the brutal pace for the first portion of this record. Brutal drumming, fat bass lines, dual guitars playing perfectly in sync with some ripping solos and some harsh vocal with a smidge of 80’s thrash high pitch screams. What a wonderful way to start off an album.

Moving forward to one of the first singles I heard from this new record called “Remain Violent”: this would definitely be more in line with a traditional thrash tune to get that circle pit moving. Heavy consistent riffs and really sweet bass groove make this an instant Warbringer classic. Add in some outstanding well placed guitar soloing and you have all the makings for a classic mosh pit.

“Divinity of Flesh,” track seven, was a bit surprising when I first heard it. This track opens up sounding closer to black metal before settling back into something closer to thrash. But it’s just not the opening of the song; there is diversity in the playing styles throughout the entire track. Progressive, thrash, black metal are intertwined while never sacrificing the ability to nod your head to some great rhythms. Some thrasher elitists may not approve of this track because of its diversity, but I think Warbringer put something pretty special together on this track that proves they’re not a one trick pony.

The last track is entitled “When the Guns Fell Silent” and this is the tune that had me at first listen. I’m a pretty big Iron Maiden fan, and clocking in over 11 minutes, “When the Guns Fell Silent” reminded me of thrashier version of Iron Maiden. This track over all is way mellow compared to the rest of the album but is just as heavy if not heavier. The middle/later section of the track is a thing of beauty and any fan of Maiden will understand why. There is some really beautiful guitar work being done simultaneously with the rhythm section that I found just comforting and familiar. You wouldn’t normally think of a thrash band having something in the catalog that would be called beautiful, but the vocals and music on this track are just that, a beautiful piece of art.

Woe To The Vanquished is one of the more diverse metal albums I have heard in awhile. I went in to my first listen thinking I knew what to expect, and came out of it being pleasantly surprised by what I heard. These Southern California thrashers really got a good thing going here, and the new material translates to live in the most excellent way.

If you have never had the opportunity to see Warbringer they will be on a North America/Canadian tour in May and June along with Jungle Rot and the hard hitting Destruction. And don’t forget to pick up the new album Woe To The Vanquished on March 31st, a fine addition to any metalhead’s collection.

John Kevill – Vocals,
Adam Carroll – Guitar
Carlos Cruz – Drums
Jessie Sanchez – Bass
Chase Becker – Guitar

3/15: Portland, OR @ Analog Theater
3/16: San Francisco, CA @ Dna Lounge
3/17: Sacramento, CA @ Cafe Colonial
3/19: West Hollywood, CA @ Whisky
3/26: San Diego, CA @ Brick By Brick (headlining with Witchaven, Cultural Warfare)
3/28: Glendale, CA @ The Complex (listening party)

WARBRINGER w/ Destruction, Jungle Rot, Hellbender and Demons Within:
5/22: Oakland, CA @ Metro Opera House
5/23: Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theater
5/24: Seattle, WA @ Studio Seven
5/26: Denver, CO @ Marquis Theater
5/28: Chicago, IL @ Reggie’s
5/29: Detroit, MI @ Harpo’s
5/30: Toronto, ON @ Mod Club
5/31: Montreal, QC @ L’Astral
6/1: New York, NY @ Gramercy Theater
6/2: Rochester, NY @ Montage Music Hall
6/3: Indianapolis, IN @ Emerson Theater
6/4: Atlanta, GA @ The Masquerade
6/5: Orlando, FL @ Haven Lounge
6/7: Austin, TX @ Grizzly Hall
6/8: Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Bar & Grill
6/9: Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad
6/10: Phoenix, AZ @ Joe’s Grotto
6/11: Los Angeles, CA @ Regent Theater

*Hellbender on 5/22 – 5/26 and 6/7 – 6/11
#Demons Within on 5/27 – 6/5

Gene A. Gaona enjoys writing album reviews and conducting artist interviews for Hellbound.ca and Capital Chaos TV as well as taking in as many live metal shows as possible. He firmly believes there is nothing better in this world than his family, and great heavy metal.

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