Review: Warbringer – Woe to the Vanquished
Written by Elliot John Doe
Ventura, California’s own Warbringer are back with their 5th release. Having signed with Napalm Records last year after some major lineup changes, the band’s latest opus Woe To The Vanquished has them returning true to form, but with a more mature progression and what I consider probably their best sound so far. Let’s take a look at what Warbringer have brought to the table on this one.
‘Silhouettes’ gets the ball rolling with some fierce riffs and pounding drums keeping up the momentum with chugging bass and tandem harmonized guitars. John Kevill’s vocals are unforgettable with a harsh aggressive mix of classic thrash and modern hardcore style. Rounding out the track is a tremendous solo leaving you begging for more squealing guitar!
‘Woe to The Vanquished’ fades in with more of those memorable vocals soon to be joined by fast paced thrash goodness, some interesting time signatures dance around this hook filled title track, adding some police siren-like guitar leads alongside a meaty middle section and breakdown outro. A hard hitting track, not a lot is left to be desired here.
‘Remain Violent’ is an angry faced, head bobbing, classic thrash anthem. This one definitely will be a timeless piece in the band’s repertoire and I imagine it to be a great live piece. Full of chugging riffage, key changes, face melting solos and chant along vocals, this one is awesome.
‘Shellfire’ is just a barrage of full on thrash from the get go with speedy riffs, even speedier drums and commanding vocals. A windmill of hair comes to mind in the breakdown before picking up the pace again right through to the finish.
‘Descending Blade’ has some of the album’s most super catchy riffs including the filtered intro guitars. I’m loving the tone of the bass on this whole album and it’s showcased brilliantly on the accents in this number. Such a groove based middle section that flows right into some more rock influenced solos gets my vote.
Followed by ‘Spectral Asylum’ twisting and turning its way in with some creepy reversed whispering layered with chugging guitars and drums, adding another level with some clean picking guitar just helps this doomy number soar. Very dark and done extremely well, it’s a creepy track that has to be one of my favorites from Warbringer of all time! Also, the use of keyboard atmospherics by a thrash band is something that I like. That extra thing that pushes the boundaries in a genre is special and makes the artist stand out.
Next we have ‘Divinity of Flesh’ juggernauting its way straight into your ears, mixing up time signatures and keeping those fast paced riffs coming our way. Some insane blast beats, high pitched vocals and hook laden lead guitars make for a complete Warbringer 2017 anthem.
The final track, the epic we were promised ‘When the Guns Fell Silent’ begins with spoken words and atmospheric backgrounds, then drifts in acoustic guitar and droning leads. Suddenly it all comes crashing down in mid-tempo in the darkest manner possible with chugging guitars, an interesting bass line and those ever prominent vocals. Continuing the acoustic guitar theme adds another little different fleck to this release. A heartfelt breakdown with uplifting leads is a brilliant bonus to this song of epic proportions and without fail Warbringer brings it by taking the pace up a notch splattering lead guitars all over the place before finally laying this masterpiece to rest with a haunting acoustic guitar refrain.
Does it qualify as a full length album with only eight tracks? Considering the length of the songs, I’d say yes, especially with the ginormous finale; and what a finale it was! When listening to this as a whole piece and comparing it to their earlier works you really can’t complain about much here. This one of the best Warbringer albums yet. Excellent work guys! 9/10