Four albums under their belt and continually growing in strength and prominence, Californian thrash machine Warbringer don’t pull their punches or mess about. With their last release ‘IV: Empires Collapse’ getting some serious praise (Including a 9/10 from us!!), the scene is set for what the band describe themselves, as their most intense and ambitious release yet. Steel yourselves and prepare for war!

This is an album of two distinct parts; full on thrash fury and melodic, dark, progressive, groove laden thrash. Being a compact release in terms of total playtime, weighing in at 8 tracks and 41 minutes in length, it ticks all the boxes for the sound, style and delivery. Opening track “Silhouettes” sets the pace and before you even realise it, the explosion of full on thrash riffs and precise rhythmic bombardment hammers home. Cutting tones, piercing riffs, classic thrash vocals laden with aggression and a dirty bass sound combine to bring back the sound of the 80’s thrash era, but with a more modern control to it.

The album continues in this theme. Title track “Woe To The Vanquished” brings some serious chugging riffs and plenty of headbanging aggression whilst “Remain Violent” which follows hot on its heels is a contender for thrash track of the year. Bearing all the hallmarks of the Exodus of days gone by, it has that signature thrash groove which demands movement, plenty of sneering vocals and classic thrash riffs. It’s a masterclass in the art of Thrash, it’s as simple as that!

As the album continues, the shift from intense to progressive becomes clear. “Spectral Asylum” sacrifices speed for groove and heaviness, bringing in dark melodic lines, booming basslines which penetrate deep and a real haunting atmosphere, bringing in some subtle synth augmentation and a classic 1-2 solo trade off spot to cap it. “Divinity Of Flesh” brings an edge of melodic death metal, dancing around the type of sound found in the 90’s which the likes of Carcass and At The Gates were known for. Rapid fire riffs which slice through all in their way like a buzzsaw giving way to traditional thrash grooves before the chorus kicks in with some explosive impact as it explodes full speed and real powerful vocal work.

The pinnacle of the release though, is the 11 minute 11 second long closing track “When The Guns Fell Silent”. With the symbolic themes regarding World War I; the track length, the title being synonymous with a well known war poem and the lyrical content itself detailing the true horrors of what was thought to be the war to end all wars, it is powerful, haunting and a testament to just how tight Warbringer are musically. With haunting and dissonant riffs, well structured shifts from intricate clean sections to emotionally heavy distorted powerhouse riffs and stunning lead work, it really hits home and closes the record in style!

Rich with a classic thrash vibe but bringing some modern heaviness along to compound just how powerful this release is, Warbringer have created what can easily be called a modern thrash masterpiece and it sets the standard for near enough any thrash release in 2017 and possibly beyond!

(9.5/10 Fraggle)