When a band drops a new album, especially a revered band, the pressure and anxiety can be overwhelming. But once fans and critics give feedback and support, the band’s stress is alleviated. Warbringer had expected to be celebrating with their rabid fans pounding fists and headbanging across the country to bond over their sixth album, Weapons of Tomorrow, out on Napalm Records. But, in the quarantine times currently suffocating this country, things are, well, weird.
“It’s weird indeed,” says vocalist John Kevill. “Putting out an album while staying at home is very different from how we’ve done it every other time. We have no tour dates until the end of the year. It is a strange time indeed.”
However, different parameters create different opportunities.
“Under quarantine, I have plenty of time to do every single interview or piece of press which comes my way, and that’s not a bad thing! So, seeing as we can’t control these global events, we have to try to make the best of them.”
At this point, Warbringer have built a respected legacy over their 12 years as a band, but Kevill and company do not feel pressure to do anything but make the record they want to instead of struggling to balance continuing their sound or expanding it with creativity.
“We didn’t regard those two elements as oppositional,” Kevill says. “The way I see it, continuing our established sound is how we expand creatively. Instead of expanding into something else, we go further into ourselves, our own identity, and our own sound. This itself is evolution and development.
“I think this path of our sound only became clear following the last record, Woe to the Vanquished. Continuing in that same path pushes creative expansion because we were doing things like melodic or black metal elements as well as long, epic, or progressive songs. So, just continuing in our own direction and being ‘more ourselves’ is the path to our creative evolution.”
As far as the main songwriting, the core of the band remains steadfast.
“Me, Carlos Cruz (drums), and Adam Carroll (guitars) do a lot of the songwriting, and all three of us have been there since forever ago,” Kevill says.
The writing of Weapons of Tomorrow, was also enhanced by new bassist Chase Bryant, whom Kevill credits with “(bringing) a lot more to the table in terms of writing bass lines.”
As outstanding fiction does, Kevill delves into the current world’s arsenals and extrapolates through his lyrics. He explores projected ramifications of our technology on each song.
“You can draw a line through many of the songs that they somehow relate to ‘fear of the future’ as a theme,” he explains. “‘Firepower Kills’ is about the power of modern weapons, ‘Crushed Beneath the Tracks’ is about replacing humans with machines in the workforce, ‘Glorious End’ is about what industrial weapons did to brave men 100 years ago (with implications for the future).”
“But, that’s just a few of them. ‘Defiance of Fate’ and ‘Unraveling’ are both two different sides of an intra-personal struggle, the search for meaning. In one, the speaker triumphs, in the other, he loses. ‘Outer Reaches’ is a fictional, sci-fi story about explorers on an exodus from Earth. ‘Notre Dame (King of Fools)’ goes into the themes of Victor Hugo’s famous novel and then also muses on the burning of the cathedral and the loss it represents.”
“I try to write albums with diverse and interesting subject matter,” Kevill concludes. “And I definitely try to write in such a way that whatever I write will be relevant at any time, I don’t hit present day themes ‘on the nose’ for this reason. I want to write an album that will last and remain good for a ton of listens.”
Pick up a copy of Weapons of Tomorrow here.