(TheBRHM.com) On our piece that took a quick gander at the New Wave of Thrash Metal, we got some input from readers about a few bands they felt weren’t mentioned. The homie Justin had this to say in the comments:
“There’s a shit load of other bands too Crisix, Lich King, Evile, Havok, Warbringer, Power Trip”
There are two there I either haven’t heard before or hadn’t listened to a lot—the list end bands. Lich King, Evile, and Havok are bands I’ve heard of but the inclusion of Warbringer really piqued my ears. It’s one of those bands that I discovered when I first delved into that generation of thrash metal years ago.
Their debut War Without End was an album along with Toxic Holocaust’s An Overdose of Death and Skeletonwitch’s Beyond the Permafrost that really sealed my interest in the wave.
Let’s look at the three strongest full-length releases from Warbringer. These are the ones you should definitely give a listen!
But first a bit about Warbringer.
Consistency Is Key with Warbringer
A strength to note about these California thrashers is that they’re extremely consistent from album to album. I’ve always held consistency to be the greatest strength of a band. It’s also something that hobbled the forefather bands in thrash when the 90s came along.
Some bands had it, others didn’t. I believe it was due to wanting to explore another sound and new influences at a time when fans just weren’t having it. With the late 90s-early 00s new wave, you also had a new generation of fans looking for a return to some of the 80s sound while also being more receptive to experimentation or mixing influences.
You also had a new wave of bands who mixed influences well and gave us some quality hybrids such as blackened thrash and faster crossover for instance. Warbringer is a band that sits on the Slayer end of what I call the Megadeth/Metallica-Slayer scale. The band is fast, aggressive, and will give you this heavy, relentless strain of thrash metal that I love.
Warbringer – Woe to the Vanquished (2017)
Even when they slow it down a couple of notches, it’s still heavy and relentless. Woe to the Vanquished is a great example of that direction as well as a testament to the band’s consistency. By the time this album dropped, Warbringer had already delivered four albums and was around for thirteen years.
The previous albums showed improvement from the debut before easing into a consistency of quality. It was also a return to form following a little experimentation. The band established that warfare and violence were its bread and butter and speed was always its calling card.
Woe to the Vanquished was basically Warbringer saying “We’re back!”
Recommended Tracks: Remain Violent, Shellfire**, When the Guns Fell Silent
Waking into Nightmares (2009)
This album is amazing. That’s all I can say about it really since Warbringer has a particular approach that they excel at as mentioned above. If you love fast and furious metal, Waking into Nightmares really delivers. I’d say it’s the best introduction to the band, honestly.
The album before this one—the War Without End debut—was a great sign of what was to come although it was a little too similar to other speedy as hell offering from the band’s contemporaries and were the first salvo from a young band introducing a full, concentrated effort.
Meanwhile, the following album Worlds Torn Asunder was an album that simply stayed the course but didn’t present anything mind-blowingly new nor did was it a drop in quality. It showed that Warbringer didn’t have just a strong intro, a stronger follow up, and fall off.
I won’t say it’s the best of the band’s work but it’s definitely my personal favorite.
Recommended Tracks: Living in a Whirlwind**, Abandoned by Time*, Senseless Life*
Weapons of Tomorrow (2020)
Released early last year, Weapons of Tomorrow showed that consistency I’ve been mentioning. After taking three years after Woe to the Vanquished, Warbringer showed that they still have it. That’s thing about rock bands, there can be some years between albums and it puts pressure on them to deliver the goods when they return.
With sixteen years under its belt at this time, the band was more than up for the challenge having a few line-up changes since Woe to the Vanquished. The core of the band—vocalist John Kevill and guitarist Adam Carroll—are able to work with any combination of musicians as long as the formula doesn’t change up much.
The best way I can explain WoT is that it still has that violent speed that the band is known for but it’s a larger effort. I tend to have some apprehension getting into a speed metal or thrash album that crosses that 40-45-minute mark because mid-tempo and cement-tempo songs tend to take me out of the album a bit—especially if it’s in the middle.
However, Weapons of Tomorrow is 50-minutes of speed that could leave you exhausted and saying “That’s enough, I’m good for now” in a good way. Normally, when I listen to modern thrash bands older stuff, I wanted more—which is why I usually start from a band’s older stuff first and work my way to the present.
This album comes in at a round ten tracks and is a flawless execution of both modern thrash and Warbringer at its best. This would be my second pick as an introduction to the band just so that you can get an idea of what they sounded like at their peak during the 2000s and how they kick off a new decade right.
Recommended Tracks: The Black Hand Reaches Out, Crushed Beneath the Tracks**, Power Unsurpassed**
Staff Writer; M. Swift
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.