Monday, July 3, 2017
WARBEAST : "Enter the Arena"
This is German thrash by way of Texas. Sodom is the first band that comes to mind when I pressed play and it ripped into my ear drums. There is a little more groove than the German bands from the 80s really possessed. Granted this is 2017 so there are decades of death metal which have followed the golden age of thrash and influenced these guys as well. So why I am so quick to dig into history and offer comparisons you ask. Well when you are following a genre that is so rooted in a certain place in time you can not escape the sense of nostalgia cast by it's shadow. To their credit the dense production gives a greater sense of density that most bands that were not Dark Angel did not really embody.
This kind of music really struggles against my rule that cool riffs alone do not make a good song. Riffs are their stock and trade. Take away the riffs to most metal and what do you have? That in many ways is the mission of the blog. To ask those questions and find the bands that go above and beyond to offer something more. Sure they are punishing. Their drummer can fly at the speed of light, but that is what is expected from the genre. On "Punishment for Gluttony" there is a much stiffer feel to the forward charge they attack you with. You also begin to get a sense of just how one dimensional the vocals are going to be. This was not always the case with the classic albums from the 80s.
The two songs that follow offer a little more groove to head bang to. "Maze of the Minotaur" finds the guitar getting more adventurous and almost reminds me of Mastodon's earlier work. It's this groove that can compensate for the limited delivery of the vocals. "Hitchhiker" finds them doing this in a way that plays to their strengths as a band and is more along the lines of what Vio-lence used to do. There is a darker dissonance to the chord progression of "Chemicals Consuming " before blasting back off into the rapid fire punk hybrid of metal. The guitar pyrotechnics work better on this song than they have earlier in the album.
The hammering thrash of "Enter The Arena" proves to be powerful until they allow the velocity to over come them. This song proves blunt force alone is not enough to keep my interest. Indian chanting starts of "the Scalping". When it eases back from the more whiplash inducing passages and allow the song a s little room to breath the groove in does it benefit the most. Sadly "Conjuration with the Devil" is pretty mundane aside from one really crushing riff towards the three minute mark. There is more Slayer in the riff to "Ancient Hate". Like Slayers more recent album the speed kills the groove and just feels like they are throwing rapid riffs at you. This album grew on me a little, but they are in no way redefining the thrash genre. It is a pretty solid performance so I'll give this a 7.5