Well, set fire to my hair and call me Rupert, I would have put money on this motley crew being Australian. I mean, everything here positively screams of being from the land down under (where women glow, and men plunder). The “war metal” vibe, the rough as my head after a night on the rum voice, the damned name of the band even! Yet no. “Weaponizer”, is it turns out, are a four piece (“Destroyer” and “Ale Wulf” on guitars, “Barbarian” on bass and vocals, and…erm…”Shaggy” on drums), from ….Denver. I’ve reached out to 90’s pop-reggae star “Shaggy” to see if it is actually him on the drums, and he replied simply with “it wasn’t me”. *(The editor and staff of Ave Noctum apologise for this weak joke).
The music itself? Well, it’s a raging romp through everything that was bloody excellent about the fringes of mid to late eighties metal. Really underproduced, yet wicked sounding Slayer-esque riffs? Check. Venom-esque bass sound, being pummelled by the thrash-based, occasionally cross-over skin bashing? Tick. Song titles like “Hellbound” and “Iron Clan Exiles?” yep. It’s a mash up of the nastier, more blackened side of early thrash metal, all put through a Destroyer 666 shaped blender. When the duelling guitar solos on title track “Lawless Age” came spiralling out of the headphones, I was absolutely sold on this album. It’s proper, unashamed and fashion-free heavy metal the way it used to be in the days of badly xeroxed black and white cassette inlay laden demo tapes, and it is absolutely fantastic.
In fact, the production needs a special nod, because they’ve somehow managed to keep the spirit of the age intact, along with many of the rough edges around the guitars especially, while giving it much of the power and sheen of modern production methods. Weirdly, when the band latch onto a groove, as they do on the lurching “Gangrene”, there are moments when I’m reminded of both Usurper and The Chasm simultaneously, but without Weaponizer ever really setting out to be a facsimile of either. I absolutely love the fact that the band decided to have a rip-roaring cover of English Dogs “World War 2” as the outro track too. About time they got some love!
A cracking album that’s just about the right length to demand to be listened to a second time every time you play it. Good job, guys, Vegemite Sandwich or not.
(8/10 Chris Davison)