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Warbringer: Woe to the Vanquished

Warbringer is righteously returning to metal what has been missing for years: a sense of Conviction and the scope of Art. If I must start an argument, fine, but I get tired of listening to screamers of all nationalities belting out lurid lyrics from creepy things they cribbed from Wikipedia with no semblance of sincerity. Somehow four guitar solos, three severed heads and two equipment endorsements is supposed to make me forget about what I love about metal music in the first place ---the musical and lyrical transportation to another realm.

That incredible polysonic journey is starting once again with Warbringer's fifth release Woe to the Vanquished a title taken from the ancient Gallic victory over the Romans before Rome became a mighty empire. The previous statement alone serves as a heady introduction to the sheer intelligence of this offering. The opening track "Silhouettes" is a supreme example of breaking down a piece of history in a creative manner without losing the audience in the process.

The Atomic Bombs dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki literally obliterated human life; leaving horrifying telltale signs through burnt shadows (silhouettes) of people eternally pasted to sidewalks and walls. The survivors were afraid of the heavens and cried "We pray for deliverance/ But the Gods are silent…" The video that accompanies this track is bare bones on the optics but proves the song is ultimately the driver of powerful vocals wed to a motivated band that firmly believes in the project.

The rhythmic bounce of "Remain Violent" is infectious yet ironic when dealing with subject of self-defense in urban battle zones "Oh, That's what they want, for you to say/To remain silent No, you have the right,/to remain To Remain Violent." And the title track "Woe to the Vanquished" pounds thunderous guitar licks to serve the utter devastation of defeat in the days when losing a battle could cost the entire loss of your tribe. "The sick, the dying, the conquered, the slain /Forget their faces, forget their name /Vae Victus Woe to the Vanquished."

The drums and bass on this album are outstanding and deserve attention when realizing many thrash metal bands spend too much time forcing the drummer and bassist to speed up their play as if to compete with guitarists rather than what Carlos Cruz and Jessie Sanchez manage here in that they support the musical framework and become stars in their own right. And this is nowhere more apparent than in the final monumental track clocking in at 11 minutes, 11 seconds.

"When the Guns Fell Silent" is more than the Hope Diamond of this stellar collection of songs outlining the consequences of war, it may very well stand the test of time for historic music contributions in the field of metal music. Kavill's voice from the stately narration of British poet Siegfried Sasson's moving tribute to WW1 troops "O, my brave companions When your souls flock silently away/And the eyeless dead shame the wild beast of battle upon the ridge," to the full-throated passionate rage reciting the stages of war until the end. "March through the mud and the rain/The soldiers disappearing into the gray/Hopeless, they look to the sky/For years they have bled on the line."

For fans and musicians alike the goals set out for Woe to the Vanquished were accomplished with both conviction and artistic integrity. Two pivotal points in the industry we need to demand going forward if metal music is to have a triumphant resurgence of sonic power and serious scope capable of transcending the stereotypes usually associated with this genre of rock. Warbringer is clearly on that rewarding path.

Track Listing

  1. Silhouettes (4:45)
  2. Woe to the Vanquished (4:00)
  3. Remain Violent (3:24)
  4. Shellfire (3:58)
  5. Descending Blade (4:14)
  6. Spectral Asylum (5:33)
  7. Divinity of Flesh (3:45)
  8. When the Gun Fell Silent (11:11)

Added: March 25th 2017
Reviewer: Mark Antony Rossi
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 973
Language: english

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