Sound — 7
Thrash metal group Warbringer have been writing music infused with a now signature hard hitting sound since 2004. Originally the band took on the name Onslaught, but quickly changed once they realized it was already taken. The following year that the group was formed, Warbringer released their debut EP, "Born of the Ruins." Backed by original material, Warbringer used their self financed EP to help spread the word of the band by handing them out to audience members free of charge following their live shows. Warbringer also earned a strong reputation by performing as the opening band for more well known thrash metal groups. It was the latter of these two stunts which helped catch the attention of a representative from Century Media Records, who was there to see another performing act but ended up signing Warbringer in 2007 instead. From there, the sky was the limit for Warbringer. In 2008, the band was joined by producer Bill Metoyer, who previously worked with such names as Slayer and W.A.S.P., and finished their debut studio album "War Without End." The success of their debut helped land their first national tour in support of Exodus, and again in the fall in support of Overkill. Coming off of a rigorous touring schedule, in comparison recording a second studio album was a walk in the park. 2009 marked the release of "Waking Into Nightmares," which showed Gary Holt of Exodus stepping in as album producer. Since then, Warbringer have released a third studio album, "Worlds Tom Asunder," most recently went on tour with Symphony X and Iced Earth, and now are making a return with their fourth studio effort. "IV: Empires Collapse" most likely takes it's title from the fact that this is Warbringer's fourth album, and even following several listens fails to show any collapses within the Warbringer songwriting chemistry. The entire new album is packed with racing guitar work, thunderous percussion work and blood curdling screams, all of which are features which Warbringer fans are more than accustomed to hearing. "IV: Empires Collapse" takes off right from the gate with "Horizon," which boasts a hard racing pace and doom-laden guitar playing. "The Turning of the Gears" is a rhythm guitar-driven track which is filled with relentless screaming, which coats the rest of the track.
Lyrics — 6
I am normally the first to praise a thrash metal lead vocalist. Going out every night and giving headache inducing primal screams can easily take a toll on one's voice. Warbringer lead singer John Kevill has managed to keep his voice sounding just as crisp and hate filled as it did on the group's EP eight years ago. However, it is also John's vocal performance which holds this new album back, especially when it comes to songs as the previously mentioned "The Turning of the Gears." Songs such as these have some strong rhythm guitar work which could appeal to any heavy metal fan, but it is the high pitched, blunt screams which take away from the rest of the performance. Your attention is taken away from the guitar work, and is instead directed to turning down the volume dial. The lyrics similarly get lost within the execution.
Overall Impression — 6
From solely an instrumental standpoint, Warbringer give another standout performance with their fourth studio album "IV: Empires Collapse." Guitarist John Kevill has never sounded better, and Jeff Potts does an excellent job in the shoes of Adam Carroll. The singing quality which comes along with this new effort is one of the most apparent downsides to this new studio album, and doesn't in any way benefit the rest of the music. Despite this setback, the album still comes recommended to any established Warbringer fan, and those who follow the thrash metal scene in general.