All the way from Appleton, Wisconsin comes the no fucking about crust crew Wartorn. First release on Southern Lord after a fair few records on punk labels like Profane Existence and as the title track kicks off it’s easy to see why they attracted Southern Lord’s attention as they are a real solid, heavy punching band. Crust with a very metallic edge to the riffing, without any compromising the drum driven battery. You know I was going to debate the continued use of nuclear war imagery but as I write North Korea were waving their new leader’s willy around in space and the Middle East is clattering onwards into meltdown so… yeah, plenty of reason for it still to be around and plenty good reason for Wartorn to be so pissed off about it all. Sometimes you just gotta shout.
Wartorn have a lot of real downtuned low end power in their guts, even when the razor guitar runs scream over the top as on ‘Unfinished Blueprint’ which when combined with the classic, utterly convincing shouted vocals build up a fine head of steam. Sometimes backed up with backing death-style vocals and often the kind of hooks that only come wirth crust; buried deep in the rolling assault like nails in the baseball bat. It’s not all one bewildering full on sprint either; songs like ‘Six Feet Under’ grind up from a slow gear before tearing off into a metal driven sprint and I swear there’s even a bit of the black metal sound creeping around the edges of songs like ‘No Sanctuary, No Surrender’. Oh yeah, and an almost introspective feel to ‘Betrayal’ before it cranks up and bursts into the album closer and my favourite track here, the chaotic death metal grind inflected ‘Burial Ground’.
There is no reinvention here, though. For all the sounds I can pick out this is firmly, unmistakably and thankfully crust. Like being run over by some truck out of Mad Max and with the lyrics and anger pressed into your sorry hide like tyre tracks, it feels great to be blasted by Wartorn. Get up, get at ’em and don’t give an inch.
It reminded me I am still alive. I guess and hope that’s what they want.