Waking Into Nightmares
UG Team, on may 22, 2009 4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 8
Lyrics: 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. // 7
Overall Impression: 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. // 9
Waking Into Nightmares
ozzypossum, on july 02, 2010 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: Warbringer is an up and coming Thrash Metal band from California featuring John Kevill, John Laux, Adam Carroll, Ben Bennett, & Nic Ritter. Many of the (as they are called) Retro Thrash bands are considered to be unoriginal and very boring due to the fact that all they do is try and capture the sound of 80's Thrash bands without adding their own elements. Well Thrashers of the world I have come to tell you of a Thrash album from the 21st Century that actually captures the elements of 80's Thrash and still original. The album is "Waking into Nightmares."
The album's first track, "Jackal," bursts through with a nice little drum intro from Nic Ritter which is followed by a thrash riff that loves to kick your balls in constantly as it thrashes you into oblivion. That is just the first few seconds of the song people. Then Kevill comes in with a roar of a voice that sounds like Paul Baloff and Chuck Schuldiner had a bastard child together. And in between the guitar breaks is Ben Bennett's Metal yet funky basslines that continue throughout the rest of the album, which was something that was missing from the last album. This song ultimately thrashes you to no end. The next track is a nice little thrasher called "Living in a Whirlwind." It too thrashes with it's chugging intro riff and fast paced drums and of course the beast that is John Kevill. "Severed Reality" could be called the first single off the album. The song launches off with a riff that sounds very similar to something from "Soldier of Misfortune" era Sacrifice. Then launches into an equally heavy verse riff with bass and drum fills galore.
Just to save some space, I'll skip the next two tracks, which are thrashers nonetheless, but still not as good as the track "Prey For Death." This song reeks of Demolition Hammer influence. It is a very catchy thrash song that makes you headbang to no end, until it suddenly rapes your soul. And in the middle of the song is a nice guitar breakdown with somewhat of a bass solo from Mr. Bennett which leads into a Megadethy riff that suddenly picks up some more double bass along the way. After this is "Nightmare Anatomy," which is a nice little instrumental piece kind of like Metallica's "Call of Kthulu" meets Strapping Young Lad. After this is "Shadow From the Tomb" which is a track that starts off with a crazy motherf--ker of a riff that launches you into an almost Death Metal riff before going into a drum fill and right into the thrashy yet catchy verse. This song also features some nice death growls from Ben Bennett on this one as well.
The last two songs are "Senseless Life" and "Forgotten Dead" which are some pretty thrashy numbers, the latter being a nice slower thrasher reminding you of "Hell Awaits" era Slayer as it then launches you into total thrashdom. Overall this album gets a 10 because I truly believe this album will be held up in the same position as Slayer's "Hell Awaits," Kreator's "Pleasure to Kill." and Exodus's "Bonded By Blood." So a 10 out of 10 it is. // 10
Lyrics: Since the album is a thrash album, a lot of the lyrics deal with either A: pretty gruesome situations or B: the way the lyricist looks at something in society, a certain figure, a place, etc.... The song "Jackal" seems to be about some really annoying asshole who also claims the title of "dick" (out of your mouth comes nothing but deceit, I want only to see it shut.) "Living in a Whirlwind" is obviously about addiction, probably something like alcohol or drugs (Cheating death, just to get your fix) & (Still you're sinking lower, each day more desperate.) "Severed Reality" is about all the really screwed up things you see while on LSD (Twisting masses taking form beyond the murky black, A scream breaks the silence and the skies begin to crack.) "Prey for Death" is about a post apocalyptic world where people still live (Heat beats down over barren wastes, Desolate realms of ash, Vultures circling overhead, They feed on your dying past....Parched with thirst but you cannot drink, The oceans melt away)and soon revert to cannibalism (Breed so you can eat the young, Keeps hunger at bay) These are some pretty nice thrash tracks, and the lyrics definitely suit the music. // 9
Overall Impression: Overall this album gets a 10 because is is that f--king good of an album. This album actually gave me hope that someday Metal would not be about breakdowns and how "Hardc0r3" the music was. This is a total Thrash out, balls out album. It reminds me of the days of early Slayer, Demolition Hammer, "Cavelera" era Sepultura, and Sacrifice. If you want a new album that makes you think it's 1986 and Thrash is at it's peak, go buy this, NOW. And actually buy it, don't download it, the band needs the money because Hardc0r3 kids won't listen to their music because it's not br00tal enough or some stupid shit. Anyway a 10/10 for the best Thrash band since 1991 it is. // 10