Thrash Microdose: Warbringer, Divine Chaos, Beyond & Macbeth

Written by Mass

  • Artist: Warbringer
  • Album: Weapons of Tomorrow
  • Genre: Thrash metal
  • Release Date: April 24th, 2020
  • Country: USA
  • Label: Napalm Records
  • Highlights: Glorious End – Firepower Kills – Heart of Darkness
  • Rating: 8.5

Verdict: One of the most renowned names in thrash these days and among the bands in the thrash revival movement of the 2000s, Warbringer began with and maintained in their cannon a fierce aggression, the likes of which are found more frequently among Teutonic thrashers (Destruction, Kreator or Sodom), rather than their American counterparts.

Their latest release, Weapons of Tomorrow, is as belligerent and forceful as their previous releases, even a tad bit more so, and in this regard, it is a top-notch thrash album. This spirit is reflected in guitar work of Adam Carroll and Chase Becker. But more than anything else, it is John Kevill’s gritty and strong vocals with tinges of death metal growls and power metal screams, as well as black metal-ish screeches, that shine and instill this sense of fierceness. The latter factor is reflected more than just the vocals; the track Heart of Darkness is straightforward melodic black metal for most part, and so is Notre Dame (King Of Fools) to a lesser degree. As for lyrical themes, much like previous releases, war and violence are central. Overall, it is a thrash highlight of this year for certain.

  • Artist: Divine Chaos
  • Album: The Way to Oblivion
  • Genre: Thrash Metal
  • Release Date: April 24th, 2020
  • Country: UK
  • Highlights: Nations Damnation – The Way to Oblivion – Decivilise – Upon The Shrine
  • Rating: 8.5

Verdict: Young they may be, but they thrive in all and every aspect of their music. Divine Chaos are a British five-piece thrash act that kicks ass with every single track of their album. Beginning their career back in 2006, the band finally managed to release their first LP A New Dawn in the Age of War in 2014 and after a good many line-up changes, they hired three new musicians on various instruments to form their current squad.

As Divine Chaos’s second record, The Way to Oblivion is an album I would call “mature”. It opens with a melodeath touch but shapeshifts into classic thrash shortly after the intro and keeps its pace all through the work without becoming tedious. The band succeeds at achieving a high level of consistency in delivery of ruthless music, be it guitar riffs or drum work, to an extent that one might mistake them for veteran thrashers! Within this scope of consistency falls the congruity of musicians; none hogs the limelight and all seize moments of splendor appropriately. I would, however, like to place the vocals on a different plate as Jut Tabor’s voice adds a shade of death into the band’s otherwise thrashy mix, yet it hits all the notes right and enhances the band’s sound. The Way to Oblivion is an essential thrash of 2020.

  • Artist: Beyond
  • Album: Elhagyott Varos
  • Genre: Thrash Metal
  • Release Date: April 14th, 2020
  • Country: Hungary
  • Highlights: Csak norrisz – Nekünk itt még dolgunk van – Éhbér
  • Rating: 7.0

Verdict: Hailing from Gyöngyös, a small city east of Budapest, and active since 1982, Beyond is among the forerunners of thrash metal in Central Europe and among a few that are still active. It is true that they have officially been up and running for almost 4 decades, but they have released only six studio albums, five of which have been in the period of last twelve years. Regardless of, or rather despite, their age, their work is immensely vigorous and hard-hitting.

Elhagyott Varos (literally translated as Abandoned City) is Beyond’s latest offering and it is a decent album with a handful of wild riffs and a few memorable tunes to sing along with. “Éhbér” might be the catchiest one as the opening bass line and the following riff resemble those on Walk (of Pantera), though it later on shapeshifts into a thrash piece. “Hogyha a felhők fölött élnék” and “Nekünk itt még dolgunk van” are my riff choices and had it not been for the awkward drum sound in some instances on the song, “Mint egy elhagyott város” would have been a highlight too. My favorite track, however, is “Csak norrisz” which seems to be a homage to the legendary, and oftentimes humorously labeled badass, Hollywood actor Chuck Norris.

In a word, this album has the potential to absorb thrashers and thrash-heads although it is not the perfect American or Teutonic thrash one might expect.

  • Artist: Macbeth
  • Album: Gedankenwächter
  • Genre: Heavy Metal – Thrash Metal
  • Release Date: March 27th, 2020
  • Country: Germany
  • Highlights: Friedenstaube – Brandstifter – In seinem Namen – Demmin – Daskalogiannis
  • Rating: 8.5

Verdict: Despite being in the business for a very long time (since 1985), Macbeth is a lesser-known name in the heavy metal scene outside their motherland, Germany. One reason could be the long hiatus in their career in the 1990s. It was not until 2006 that they finally managed to release their first and self-titled LP. Another reason for the lack of popularity among international fans could be that their lyrics are, to the best of my knowledge, all in German. However, given the chance, Macbeth is a highly competent crew of vigorous musicians and Gedankenwächter is a highly recommendable album.

Above all, this album is filled to the brim with bad-ass, fast-paced, powerful, mind-blowing riffs that propel the whole train forward full-force and show no mercy to the weak of heart. Alexander Kopp and Ralf Klein have delivered a world-class guitar duet. On faster tracks like Brandstifter, their style borders Teutonic thrashers (Kreator as one example) and on slower pieces like Daskalogiannis, they take a more modern heavy metal approach. As far as Steffen Adolf’s drums and Hanjo Papst’s bass are concerned, no shortage of potency can be felt. Oliver Hippauf’s voice neither falters nor dominates the music and fills the place where it should. All thanks to Patrick Engel’s quality production, every sound on this album is clean and calculated.

I would also like to use this opportunity to admire, though shortly, the astonishing artwork of the album by the Russian artist Artem Demura, who has also collaborated with Malist.

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