01. Total War 02. Systematic Genocide 03. Dread Command 04. Hell On Earth 05. At the Crack of Doom 06. Beneath the Waves 07. Instruments of Torture 08. Shoot To Kill 09. Born of the Ruins 10. Combat Shock2008 Century Media Records
by Ryan Ogle
I first heard the fury that is Warbringer several months ago when a copy of their now out-of-print EP One By One The Wicked Fall arrived at my house in an unassuming little cardboard package. What was wrapped inside nearly took my damn head off. This little five-song time machine took me back to a day when I was first enjoying the violent splendor that was thrash metal. As the 80's faded into the early 90's and Kurt Cobain was just another loser in flannel, I spent many an hour locked away in my room, banging my head and frying my brain cells to a soundtrack of Exodus, Nuclear Assault, Slayer and any other cassettes (remember those) of that breed I could get my pubescent little hands on. All these years later, thanks to Warbringer, there I was again, flailing with reckless abandon as the sonic pummel that came from my speakers was exorcizing the long-haired, denim-clad demon that dwelled within. It wouldn't be long before I could recapture that feeling again because, picking up the massive thrash resurgence we're experiencing today, the folks at Century Media snatched up this California-based band and graced my collection with War Without End. Joining groups like Municipal Waste and Dekapitator in the New Wave Of Thrash Metal, Warbringer takes lead of this pack of snarling dogs with this debut full-length. Staying true to the straight-forward, kill-or-be-killed approach taken by their masters, this album delivers the same unpolished and in-your-face production heard on early Slayer classics, thanks in part to the old-school production of Bill Metoyer (Slayer, Sacred Reich, DRI). Beyond that, Warbringer embodies the very essence that was thrash metal back in its glory days; pure fucking destruction. Guitarists Adam Carroll and John Laux lead the attack with a barrage of double-picked and galloped riffs. Reminiscent of guitar duos like Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt or even Hetfield and Hammett's initial tag-team, the two bond together with razor sharp intensity as they smash their way through relentless tracks like "At The Crack Of Doom" and "Shoot To Kill." Of course, what would thrash be without the flashy guitar solos Laux answers that call with a set of hands capable of throwing down a display lighting fast licks and whammy bars dives that would turn Kerry King a light shade of envious green. When you add in the rumble produced by the rhythm section of Ryan Bates (drums) and Andy Laux (bass),a chemistry is created that I haven't felt since albums like Bonded By Blood or Kill 'Em All first bled my ear drums. Vocalist John Kevill tops off this maelstrom perfectly; his snarled, Tom Araya meets Paul Baloff scream spewing forth destructive odes to war, torture, hell and all other things metal. Bottom Line: Whether or not thrash metal will reclaim its part glory and run rampant over the trend-friendly metal scene once again remains to be seen, but we can be certain that its death has been greatly exaggerated. War Without End is a great argument that you can move forward by looking back. There isn't a single post-1993 fingerprint on this entire album. No breakdowns, no clean vocals, nothing remotely pretty or stylish; just pure thrash the way it was intended; violent, heavy, loud and most importantly, fun.