Warbringer - _Waking Into Nightmares_
(Century Media, 2009)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (
If you're one of the skeptics who still think that all those new thrash bands are just rehashing ideas from the '80s and are not making something on their own, then you've probably been asleep for the last eight years. Of course there are a few bands that just substitute their unknowns in the standard equation and come out with the predictable result, but I assure you, Warbringer is not one of those bands. _Waking Into Nightmares_, the second installment from those self-proclaimed combat thrashers from Ventura, California, is an impressive thrash metal album; as hard as that may be in modern times. It carries the momentum of a band that has been touring almost non-stop for the past year in support of their debut record _War Without End_ and also indicates some increments in the overall musicianship of the band._Waking Into Nightmares_ was produced by Exodus' mastermind Gary Holt, and there's no denying that his experience has added a lot to this young and energetic band. New drummer Nic Ritter is definitely another bonus on this effort. His work is a significant improvement over the drumming on their debut _War Without End_, especially his crafty chops on "Severed Reality" and his flexibility on the rather calmer "Nightmare Anatomy". Also the transitions on tracks such as "Jackal", "Abandoned by Time" and "Senseless Life" are examples of how well Warbringer have lubricated their gears throughout this past year. Some of the most memorable guitar work is on "Shadow From the Tomb", the dynamic "Living in a Whirlwind" and the aforementioned "Jackal". Guitar solos are nothing fancy to gloat about, but they appear in the right place at the right time and give Warbringer that edge they seem to have; as opposed to a lot of the new thrash bands.Perhaps the most obvious weakness here is the monotonous vocal delivery all around. John Kevill does have the more-than-appropriate voice for a thrasher, but he tends to stick around the same limited voice range a little too much. Another thing that's worth mentioning is that they've kept all tracks on the traditional verse-chorus-verse structure, but that doesn't mean they're boring or predictable. _Waking Into Nightmares_ is a major step forward for Warbringer, with its matured songwriting and top notch Gary Holt production. It may not go up there against Kreator's _Hordes of Chaos_ or Slayer's _World Painted Blood_ for 'thrash album of the year', but it is without a doubt a pretty fierce contender and deserves a great deal of respect.
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