Formed in 2006 and “discovered” by Down’s Phil Anselmo, Warbeast have been flying high of late. Last month’s split EP with the Down frontman was my first hit of Warbeast and upon discovering it was one heady cocktail, I naturally asked for more. Ave Noctum’s Commander-In-Chief didn’t let me down.
Led by former Rigor Mortis vocalist Bruce Corbitt, it isn’t any surprise to discover that his vocal is hugely effective here. The speeding thrash assault of drums and guitars are a real fistful but its Corbitt’s enormous, gnarly snarl that marks him out as monstrously influential. Somehow he rises above the mile-thick throb with a sharp, stabbing delivery to give the listener a bloody good ear-raping.
The album itself covers plenty of ground. From bursting into life with the instrumental Megadethian “Cryogenic Thawout”, Destroy moves on to diligently lay down a multitude of heavy styles that sucks up the deathly thrash of Slayer and the crush of Sepultura to form a rousing Bay Area thrash n’ groove combo sound that isn’t a million miles off Brazil’s beastly Torture Squad. “Nightmares In The Sky” summons the balls-out thrash of Exodus to rain Hell down upon us, whilst “Nobody” is more reminiscent of Cavalera Conspiracy’s “Hex” with it’s thick groove and determined face-ripping vocal.
Highlights come in the longer form of the deathly serious 7-minuter “The Day Of…” and the 6-minute title-track. The former threads the power of Destruction through the licks of Machine Head before dropping off into a Maiden-esque trawl through man’s various atrocities on man and the natural disasters that have afflicted us – “We all remember where we were that day, from that moment our lives were never the same”. The latter piles on the thrash assault with the bass and drums thundering into our chest – here we are left in no doubt just how full-on Warbeast can get.
All this and yet they retain a strong element of fun and farce which they infuse songs like “War Of The Worlds” and “Egotistical Bastard” with. Together they are like listening to a more intense GWAR (who they happen to be touring with right now). Lyrically, it’s a mess – “You walk on air, your shit don’t stink, even when you’re wrong you’re right” – weird in the whole scheme of things but as individual hits, they work just fine.
I’ve a strong suspicion that they held back their best and heaviest material for their Anselmo split, so that might account for the dearth of quality crushers, but it wouldn’t necessarily account for its emotional mis-management or odd pacing. Truth be told, this is a real jerk of an album. Warbeast play it a bit like a teenager operates his motor. Accelerating like a lunatic, then breaking hard – it’s enough to give you whiplash. If you don’t mind them driving like they stole it, then hop on board.
(6.5/10 John Skibeat)