Warbringer - War Without End (Century Media Records) 2008
1. Horizon (3:57)
1. Living Weapon (06:55)
2. Severed Reality (04:17)
3. Total War (04:26)
4. Systematic Genocide (05:04)
5. Dread Command (03:22)
6. Hell on Earth (03:46)
7. At the Crack of Doom (04:08)
8. Beneath the Waves (04:31)
9. Instruments of Torture (03:33)
10. Shoot to Kill (03:59)
11. Born of the Ruins (04:45)
12. Combat Shock (05:33)
13. Living in a Whirlwind (03:35)
14. Treacherous Tongue (03:55)
15. Making of “IV: Empires Collapse” / Studio Report (04:34)
16. European Tour 2012 / Road Movie (20:14)
2013 has been a great year for heavy metal. With great new releases from Annihilator, Death Angel, Gama Bomb, Accuser and Havok, among others, it's been an especially great year for thrash metal. Add to that list the new album by Warbringer. Though I am a big fan of the whole retro-thrash movement of the past decade, there are some band's whose sound was all "thrash-for-thrash-sake" and unfortunately those albums didn't become frequent players. Warbringer are one of those band's whose sound lacked personality and charisma on their debut. It was all about speed, speed and more speed. With the band's fourth full-length album these California retro-thrashers take a gigantic step forward from those days.
Though this album is thrash metal through and through the band has added a host of other influences; classic heavy metal, some blackened influences, some borderline death metal moments and a punk rock ethic. It's even possible that the I hear some noticeable hooks on this album. "The Turning of the Gears" immediately had my head bobbing, as did "Hunter Seeker". (No this is not a Powermad cover, though that would have been cool.) Part of the reason for this may be the new musicians in the band. Only vocalist John Kevill and guitarist John Laux remain from the "War Without End" debut. The improved songwriting is helped by a nearly flawless recording and production. John Kevill’s vocals are mostly standard fare thrash barking. On past albums his "scream like a banshee" approach didn't really give him much room for charisma or personality. That ethic continues on "Empires Collapse" but he seems to be adding some more personality and at moments reminds me of Mark Oseguedo (Death Angel) and more often, Mille Petrozza (Kreator). "IV: Empires Collapse" is a huge step forward from the band's early efforts. Warbringer is carving our their own identity and "IV: Empires Collapse" won't easily be confused with the hordes of other neo-thrashers.
Picked up the digi-pack version directly from the band's merch table when I saw them opening for Kreator and Overkill. This version includes a bonus DVD of live material. The live material was recorded at the Wisky A Go Go in Hollywood, CA in 2013 and includes the full show, behind the scenes footage, etc. The show marks the fifth anniversary of the band's debut album. As such they play the entire album from beginning to end.