I must start off this review by confessing that I had not heard of this project until the press release came along for this new album, but as soon as I saw that it came from Steve Tucker of Morbid Angel fame I jumped on it straight away, as well as going back and checking out the first album.
Aside from this the album was also produced by Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal) who of course was also a member of Morbid Angel during Steve’s tenure. This album marks the first time these two heavyweights of Death Metal have worked together since Morbid Angel’s “Gateways to Annihilation” album. And so naturally these facts will attract a lot of hype, but also a high level of expectation. As a fan, I myself can be counted among those who expected great things from this album before my first listen…. And it is my pleasure to be able to honestly say that this not only met my expectations, but far surpassed them.
As soon as the first riff comes oozing out of the speakers dripping with evil intent, then kicking into a savage blast, it’s clear that the MA connection has been positively embraced here, and that can be said for the entire album. With ominous octave chords, big squelchy pinches, and complex time signature changes, the songs are laced with the sort of fan service I came looking for. But all that is not to say that this album is living off its similarities to the classic MA sound, these guys do still manage to shine through with their own identity.
Whereas MA have become increasingly known for breaking up the flow of their albums with instrumental pieces and generally experimenting (for better or more often worse these days) with their sound, Warfather are a much more one dimensional affair. They have taken the tried and tested formula of the classic sound and seem to have focused on honing it into a tight and consistent style of their own.
There is no filler here, no weird keyboard tracks, no bizarre industrial sections, this is pure death metal with no bullshit attached. This album was created to batter you with hulking riffs, pounding drums and bellowing vocals just like all good death metal should, and it more than succeeds in delivering that.
For those of you who are familiar with the first album, I must say that after comparing the two side by side this is a tenfold improvement over the first outing. The songs are better constructed, the performances are tighter all around, and the production is infinitely better. Rutan’s skills behind the desk really bring out the power behind every song on this album. Everything has a real nice crunch to it, and it manages to sound incredibly heavy without losing any of the intricacies in the mix. It has just the right amount of polish to make it shine, but it’s still raw enough to pack a serious punch.
I am aware that I have drawn comparison to Morbid Angel throughout this review, which is something I tend to intentionally avoid, but in this case I am making an exception. And that is mainly because what I find myself confronted with is an album carrying the names of two guys who have been members of Morbid Angel, and when you really get down to it, it’s essentially a better MA album than they have made themselves since the classic Covenant album back in 1993.
By hiring Tucker and Rutan it seems that Trey Azagthoth has become the Dr.Frankenstein of death metal, releasing a monster more powerful than he could of imagined, and a monster with a soul and mind of its own, and that monster is called Warfather.
(9/10 Mark Gleed)