Review: Warbringer – Weapons of Tomorrow
On April 24th of 2020, Warbringer is set to release the sixth Warbringer album, titled Weapons of Tomorrow. So who could be more fit to review a new Warbringer album than Warbringer’s #1 fan on the Toilet? Whenever there’s a new Warbringer album coming, the fans know two things for certain: the album title will start with a ‘W’ and it will sound like every other Warbringer album. Is that a good or a bad thing? That is for you to decide. Will it be to our benefit—or our detriment—that I am the one who has been tasked with reviewing this upcoming Warbringer album? The answer is a resounding “Yes”.
We are immediately assaulted with a beast of a song titled “Firepower Kills”, and it’s not an intro track which is good because I think the intro track is overused these days. This is a song that will surprise nobody—unless you thought that maybe the band would slow down a little this late in their career—it’s a combination of speed metal and thrash performed with one foot pressed down HARD on the gas (while also featuring a catchy chorus and flashy guitar solos.) This is Grade-A Warbringer, an instant classic which will become a huge hit in the live setting; and so the question remains: is it a good thing if the new album consists of 10 new tracks of this caliber of material?
I had prepared a track-by-track review of Weapons of Tomorrow, but I feel like it would have been cheating to employ such a tactic for this article. That trick needs to be saved for those “if emergency break glass” kind of reviews that come along every now and then. It’s just too easy. Well, song #2 is a little slower paced and that’s all I’ll say about it. It was released as a single and you can check out the video in a new tab here. So, will the next one surprise us somehow? Get ready: yes it will! In the third song, “Crushed Beneath the Tracks”, there are elements of mid-paced death metal interspersed with some of their fastest material to date. The tempo keeps changing and I am proud to report that when the bridge comes in it’s rather progressive. Every member of this outfit is on his A-game, and some of these sequential guitar solos will really impress you with their skill and beauty. Carlos Cruz has made an entire career out of destroying the drum kit, and the new material provides no exceptions to that rule. “Crushed Beneath the Tracks” also features an extremely classy outro, making it one of their more interesting songs overall.
…That’s just me teasing you, because the band’s sixth release demands more effort on any reviewer’s part. So let’s tally up the score thus far: we’re three songs in and one is an instant classic, one is a standard mid-paced thrash song to add to their discography, and one joins the ranks of their top work. If I told you this pattern goes on two more times to round the album out, would you consider that a good thing or a bad one? In a way, it’s a bigger philosophical question, one that has puzzled metalheads for decades: How much consistency do we desire, or can we even celebrate, from the artists whom we love?
Obviously it’s a blessing and a curse. ‘Member Cannibal Corpse? When they put out another album of predictable, dependable material some people applaud them and some shrug their shoulders. (And I love Cannibal Corpse, so I fall in the former category.) Yet Testament performs the exact same act and I lose most of my interest. Perhaps that means I like Cannibal Corpse a lot more than Testament? I think it says more about one band’s ability to remain true to their roots, while also evolving ever so slightly so as not to shake off their fans. Track number four, “Defiance of Fate” is a relatively longer song [7:08] which includes black metal vocals and parts that might be considered classic rock in the bridge; but the song is 100% Warbringer’s. If one were to make a comparison to another thrash band’s game-changing album, it would likely be Metallica‘s And Justice For All… Heavy-hitting thrash and progressive song structures combined in equal measure.
Though Weapons of Tomorrow might not change a casual observer’s opinion of the band, I want you to know that there are unpredictable elements lurking around every corner which will surprise even the biggest fan. It’s clear which songs will be incorporated in the live setting, those are the ones with the most fist-pumping hooks. What’s really interesting is the flow of the songs, because once we get to that fourth track, it feels like we’re on an album closer: it gives us this false sense of conclusion, I’d say due to its progressive nature. It starts out slow, builds up over time, has a crazy interesting crescendo, and then slowly eases up at the end. Then they do it again on track six, “Heart of Darkness”, and finally again for the epic closing track. But rather than spoil those absolute gems, here’s another one of the singles to whet your appetite:
(See, if you like that ^^ then you like Warbringer.)
Throughout the runtime of this album, steam never runs out. “Outer Reaches” (the seventh song) tinkers with the verse/chorus formula just a bit and incorporates a few drastic tempo changes for tremendous results. But the rest shall be left a surprise for the fans. No more spoilers, you’ve just got to hear this whole thing in its entirety. And I hope you trust my opinion on this, because I would be the first person to quit the fanclub if they were to put out a stinker. As a gigantic fan of a band, I am equally inclined to enjoy what they’ve released as I am to be critical and abandon ship at the first sign of slowing down. On this, their sixth full-length, there is no sign whatsoever of them phoning the performance in.
Weapons of Tomorrow will join the ranks as some of their bet work to date. Sound production/mixing is superb. There might be one or two mid-paced, predictable numbers but most of this record contains so much to absorb, it’ll take the dedicated fan numerous listens to absorb. And so I award their sixth full-length 4.5 out of 5 of these bad bois:
Check out this utterly fantastic album on BandCamp and browse cool merch on their label’s webpage. This beast of a record drops April 24th on Napalm Records. If you’re a Warbringer fan, I personally guarantee you will love it.