Waking Into Nightmares review by Warbringer

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  • Released: May 19, 2009
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 7
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8 Superb
  • Users' score: 9 (49 votes)
Warbringer: Waking Into Nightmares
4

Sound — 8
Metal purists out there will be pleased to know that California's own Warbringer has brought back metal elements that reigned supreme during the 1980's. With its second album Waking Into Nightmares, the thrash band comes extremely close to sounding like many of the greats of the day, namely Megadeth, Exodus, and Slayer. While Warbringer still has room for growth in their core songwriting, Waking Into Nightmares will do an effective job of sending many a listener down memory lane. At the heart of it all is a set of musicians who operate together impeccably as one rhythmic unit, all the while throwing in a variety of spotlight moments (i.e., guitar solos, drum fills, etc). Knowing that Waking Into Nightmares has been produced by Exodus' Gary Holt, you do have a sense that you'll get more than a hint of vintage metal thrown in the mix. Warbringer does have its Exodus-like moments, it's still obvious that the band's influences are all over the board. A huge part in capturing that Warbringer sound are relative newcomers, drummer Nic Ritter and bassist Ben Bennett (who delivers some testosterone-driven vocals in the track Shadow From The Tomb). Considering that Waking Into Nightmares is their first go-round with the band, it certainly hits home just how tightly these guys already work as a rhythm section. The opening track Jackal draws you in, with its various crazy tempo changes and the ongoing Megadeth vibe that is created throughout. Comparing this track as well as others like Scorched Earth to Megadeth's work (Rust In Peace era, namely) is a huge compliment, particularly because it emphasizes the band's ability to balance the heaviest of rhythms with fast, yet melodic lead playing. You'll also find that a Slayer similarity pops up quite frequently, but this is probably most due to the fact that frontman John Kevill has a vocal delivery on par with Tom Araya. The lyrical content also adds to this effect, but the band as a whole never necessarily sounds quite as dark as Kerry King and the guys. You won't always hear an Iron Maiden influence in Waking Into Nightmares, but there is definitely a hint of that legendary British metal band in the track Senseless Life. What starts out as a relatively slower thrash number that builds in intensity becomes a melodic guitar fest for the ears at the end. Guitarists John Laux and Adam Carroll pull it all together to create simply amazing dual riff work. Other highlights include the use of breakdowns, which in this case, are never beaten to death. While some bands feel the need to include them in every song, Warbringer uses them sparingly.

Lyrics — 7
As was mentioned earlier, there are times on Waking Into Nightmares where you certainly are reminded of Slayer. The lyrical content doesn't delve into quite as many diabolic references as you might get with Slayer. You will, however, hear plenty of pissed-off content that often provides gory, depressing visuals. Whether in Prey For Death (Left alone to die; Under the sun there's nothing left; Prey for death) or Forgotten Dead (which provides many bloody instances of deaths by bayonets and other assorted weapons of war), Warbringer loves to inject their lyrics with a dark, violent, and somewhat cynical approach to life. It all is a throwback to many of the great thrash bands of the 80's, so it makes sense in the end.

Overall Impression — 9
Warbringer is making the rounds with some pretty impressive names in the thrash world, and rightfully so. Waking Into Nightmares does contain some very impressive moments, whether that be in the amazing Marty Friedman-like melodic solos to the stylized drum fills of Nic Ritter. As is the case with many a staple thrash band, a few of the tracks on the record tend to blend together. However, Warbringer does have enough creative, inspired moments during the course of the album that it certainly reinforces why this is a band to watch for in the future.

47 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Lion_Slicer
    If you think that Warbringer is like other "thrash revival" bands just trying to copy Slayer & co, you aren't paying attention at all. There is actually a lot of variety in this album, the tempo changes are marvelously executed, I was hooked by the breakdown after "JACKAL!" and at most it should take you until songs 6, 7, and 8 to realize how different this band is. There's Prey For Death, which kicks off with a rhythmically lurching riff that switches into a mid-tempo groove that sounds positively sludgy by thrash standards. Then Nightmare Anatomy recalls Ktulu for some welcome breathing room, and Shadow From The Tomb juxtaposes death metal beats and vocals with some fun in 7/8 and a RAWR! I for one was really expecting just another Slayer/Exodus rip, but this CD went far beyond my expectations.
    lethaldosage45
    Wow, this is some damn good thrash. 10x the extremity of the classics. Usually this genre is dead, but here it works soooo well.
    LTD-F-250
    Man this is probably my favorite new wave thrash band by far. I love this album and like it better than the first. The song scordhed earth has an amazing riff and this new album i think is a great succes
    BlackSymphony6
    This band are good, but totally unnecessary. That really goes for the whole thrash revival (see rip-off) movement. They all just sound like a blend of exodus, overkill and slayer, while being nowhere near as interesting or as vital. We've heard it all before. Move along.
    SanJose
    lethaldosage45 wrote: Usually this genre is dead, but here it works soooo well.
    What? Nononono
    ozzynator
    saw these guys live at the Kreator, exodus and belphegor tour, and they kick ass. Even had the chance to talk to John Kevill the singer after the show. Anyway this album is great, will be buying it for sure.
    Mulldarran
    Megadeth and Exodus sound nothing like Warbringer, WTF? :S The new Warbringer is great. I forsee an amazing future for those guys. They'll be around till they're 40 like Slayer have been. They really deserve it also, so humble it's almost too much.
    sheppo
    wow just heard this band for the first time i must say the riffs are ****en insane if the vocalists just takes the edge of his scream (only a little bit) this is a great new wave thrash act
    Awokmyweewok
    The only bad thing about this album is the bassist's vocals on Shadow from the Tomb. Everything else is amazing. Much better than their debut, which I also enjoyed. Forgotten Dead is metal as ****, especially the last 30 seconds or so.
    Sanitarium91
    L.A.H93 wrote: ive been a fan since before this band even released war without end, its shit how now all the faggy deathcore and children of bodom/trivium fans are gonna think there warbringer fans the dicks war without end = ***** every single song is great, especially systematic genocide, at the crack if doom, nightslasher, total war, and ofcoarse COMBAT SHOCK!!!
    I R CONFUSION.... ? The album reviewed was Waking into Nightmares and IMO it kicks the crap out of War Without End.
    Altitudinous
    This review just compares Warbringer to older metal bands. Talk about the actual album some more! I was able to get this album like a month ago somehow, and it's FANTASTIC. It's SUPER heavy, and the sound quality and tightness of the bands playing has greatly improved. Same with the guitar players, much much better than the first album, which was sick anyway. I TOTALLY recommend this album to any thrasher.
    konigstiger
    this album has a bit of an early death metal sound at times... whereas their previous album was purely thrashy...
    Stereoaxis
    I haven't heard the album, but I caught these guys on tour with Exodus earlier this week and the new stuff sounded pretty good. Unfortunately their drummer was hurt, so they had to cut the set short because the replacement didnt have time to learn the full set.
    Sanitarium91
    I listened to the tracks off youtube and I really loved it. Much better than their debut. They've really taken it to the next level and beyond, but I can't say I liked the review. Instead of comparing this to the most obvious bands (the big four and other greats) why don't you try to treat the band as an individual of it's own? Besides, some of the comparisons couldn't even be much more inaccurate.
    Raven_Flight
    This band is truly awesome I noticed this cd sounds a little more dark and dirty than "war Without End", and more progresive in its songwriting One thing I didn't like of the rewiew is that you compare them with different bands a lot, if I didn't know the band I would think they are some kind of tribute band or a mere thrashband-wannabe
    SanJose
    I haven't got into this band yet, but it's something with Warbringer that's haunting my mind. I shall try to check out both of their albums.. It seems like Warbringer is among the few "new school" thrash metal bands that have something original to bring up, instead of ripping off Exodus for example.
    Widow6
    I'm curious to listen to this. Just saw these guys last weekend, and was impressed. Off to find the credit card!
    Sanitarium91
    Raven_Flight wrote: One thing I didn't like of the rewiew is that you compare them with different bands a lot, if I didn't know the band I would think they are some kind of tribute band or a mere thrashband-wannabe
    Exactly man, exactly.
    b1acK_shadowz
    this albums pretty good but none of the songs are gonna live up to the fast pased thrash of TOTAL WAR! great album tho. scorched earth,severed reality , and prey of death are my favorite songs so far
    This Is Fun
    I've seen them 3 times, and it's sick every time. Abandoned by Time is my favorite off the new one, it encompasses everything about the new album. The only issue I have with the new album is that it doesn't have a song like Total War or Combat Shock that really hooks you in, though I think that this is a stronger album overall.
    Imperial
    Systematic Genocide has been stuck in my head recently. War Without End was a fun listen to, not particularly great though. Seems like this album is better, I may have to buy it.
    jonnowev
    The debut was better in my opinion. This is a more mature threash record, but at the cost of intensity.
    L.A.H93
    ive been a fan since before this band even released war without end, its shit how now all the faggy deathcore and children of bodom/trivium fans are gonna think there warbringer fans the dicks war without end = ***** every single song is great, especially systematic genocide, at the crack if doom, nightslasher, total war, and ofcoarse COMBAT SHOCK!!!