Warbringer - _IV: Empires Collapse_
(Century Media, 2013)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (8.5 out of 10)
Warbringer's rise to the pinnacle of the retro-thrash movement wasn't exactly meteoric; it was, however, a rise that just took dedication, hard work a lot of touring. They came out with a fairly uniform and unsurprising, yet energetic debut in 2008, but ever since then, they've gradually honed their skill of thrashing up to a point where they can't really be lumped into this herd anymore. Warbringer's progress up to 2013's _IV: Empires Collapse_ has definitely made them an interesting band to follow, and this technically accomplished and cleverly concise dose of modern thrashing is confirmation of that.

_IV: Empires Collapse_ kicks off with "Horizon", a track that masterfully sets the bar for the whole album in terms of flowing dynamics, drumming variety and compositional prowess. The energy takes off at full speed with this very technical track, as the guitars trill away some fierce riffs and the drums rumble on with fervor. After all that crude, manly thrashing, the song is put to rest with a very elegant, yet brief, acoustic segment. John Kevill's screams on "Turning of the Gears" channel his distress with the state of society and continuous mass conformity; not a new topic for thrash bands, of course, but the track is kept buoyant by its clinical execution.

The main factor that vies for _IV: Empires Collapse_ as Warbringer's best effort to date is the balancing act of melodies and straightforward thrashing. "Hunter Seeker", for example, offers some very melodic lead guitar work that's complemented by fluid riffing. "Black Sun, Black Moon" is another case of melodies at the next level. The guitar solo in the last minute on this one carries an Iron Maiden vibe that complements the vicious blasts at the beginning. Of course that balance wouldn't have been achieved if it weren't for Carlos Cruz's impressive performance on the drum throne.

Having successfully integrated blast beats into Warbringer's thrashing blueprint, Cruz enjoys the space afforded to him on "Dying Light" as he puts his various toms and cymbals to good use. "Scars Remain" is another case where his intelligent fills provide a strong counterpoint to the wandering guitars. However, when restraint is needed, restraint is quite aptly shown. "Iron City" carries that old-school heavy metal vibe, and "Leviathan" moves patiently with a plodding rhythm -- and in both cases, the drums perform the supporting role with engine-like efficiency. This much improved level of individual musicianship and collective group chemistry is what puts _IV: Empires Collapse_ at the pinnacle of modern thrash metal, and it's probably the finest thrash record of the year.

Contact: http://www.warbringermusic.com/

(article published 3/1/2014)


ALBUMS
11/1/2011 A El Naby 7 Warbringer - Worlds Torn Asunder
11/4/2009 A El Naby 7 Warbringer - Waking Into Nightmares
2/25/2008 J Smit 7 Warbringer - War Without End
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