Warbringer
Woe To The Vanquished
(Napalm Records)

There are a lot of divergent opinions about the re-thrash resurgence of the past few years, but I happen to think the best of the bunch seasoned the original style with splashes of death, prog, and/or black metal (Revocation, Wretched, Sylosis). Warbringer’s previous works fell just short of the re-thrash greats, despite the fact that their war-torn sound certainly dabbled in some of those elements; it was just that they felt like they needed to expand their sound further to reach greatness. Well, with their first record for Napalm Records (and a re-tooled lineup), Warbringer certainly bring a tasty thrash dish to the table. They are here to stake their claim as one of modern thrash’s best bands, and the results offer up little doubt of their merits.

Woe To The Vanquished expands upon what made the band good (riffs and attitude), and the added death, prog, and black bits are well executed, making the band’s fifth release easily their best yet. The title track and “Divinity of Flesh” expertly inject a ravenous dose of melodeath into Warbringer’s piss and vinegar-fueled thrash attack, while “Spectral Asylum” and the 11-minute “When the Guns Fell Silent” are slabs of blackened glory (even if the latter runs a bit over its welcome). Warbringer do play to their strengths, so the riffs are (almost) always on point (“Remain Violent” is catchy yet forgettable), and the solos are consistently wonderful. The result is a record that feels epic in scope without overstaying its welcome too much (see the slightly over-extended finale). Despite a couple forgivable hiccups, Warbringer truly stepped up their game to release what is sure to end up as one of the best thrash albums of the year. The issues are minor enough, and the band’s charm is strong enough, that I could see this record on a lot of year-end lists.

Purchase the album here.

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