Warbringer, ‘Woe to the Vanquished’ – Exclusive Album Stream + Interview
It's hard to believe Warbringer's debut album was released nearly one full decade ago as the thrash revival was in full bloom. Enduring a number of member changes over the years, the band may have found their most formidable lineup yet, taking charge of newfound power on Woe to the Vanquished, arguably their finest release. They've teamed with Loudwire so you can check out the carnage in advance of the March 31 release with a full album stream in the player below!
Warbringer state their intent immediately on the opener, "Silhouettes," as swirling guitar leads circle around from left to right and frontman John Kevill lets out a throat-ripping, high scream, something utilized in all the right places throughout the album. Bringing in fresh elements from outside the thrash parameters, the quintet blurs lines, incorporating blast beats for an added speed boost, setting flashy lead work against pummeling rhythms.
One of the highlights is the previously released "Remain Violent," which switches up the tempo, focusing on an all-too-catchy mid-paced riff that brings back that old school thrash mentality cut with a bit of fun, despite the song's more meaningful lyrical nature. Closing out the album is "When the Guns Fell Silent," an 11-minute epic that epitomizes Wabringer's diverse songcraft. Read more about both songs in our interview with Kevill below.
Woe to the Vanquished will be out on March 31 through Napalm Records and pre-orders can be placed at iTunes.
Warbringer, Woe to the Vanquished Full Album Stream
Interview With Warbringer's John Kevill
Warbringer were on the brink of folding after the last lineup dissolved. What did Jessie and Chase bring to the writing process? There’s a real sense of urgency and adrenaline on Woe to the Vanquished.
The record was written primarily by myself, Adam Carroll, and Carlos Cruz, as we had a shared vision for all the things the new Warbringer should be. Jessie and Chase both contributed greatly with excellent parts on their respective instruments as well as rock solid playing and work ethic. We knew on this one it is make or break and we will not break.
People have a habit of taking one portion of a statement or their interpretation of it and running wild. Was there any fear the message on “Remain Violent” would get misconstrued?
Yeah I thought of that. The remain silent / remain violent rhyme is thrash gold so I just had to go with what makes the best song. It’s not really supposed to express a “you should go and be violent” message, but rather communicate how I feel about recent developments in our country that are fully worth being furious about and the chorus line is just to remind that we, the people, don’t have to just lie there and take it.
Thrash bands don’t have a huge history writing epics 10 minutes+ in length. You guys really opened up the sound on this album and that closer seems to drive that home. Can you explain the importance of a song like “When the Guns Fell Silent” in Warbringer’s catalog?
I think it represents our biggest achievement to date and, to me, carries a great sense of personal accomplishment. The concept and idea were mine, the subject of the Great War fascinated me, and there is something so epic and prophetic about the ending. I wanted a song that is huge, powerful, but grim and heartbreaking as well. I wanted it to show absolute lyrical, compositional, and instrumental mastery as well, to the absolute limit of our capabilities. We would not have been able to write this song 10 years ago, no way.
In the past, you’ve been critical of some of metal’s elder statesmen regarding either their studio output or live show. Which ‘80s thrash band do you think is still delivering on the highest level?
I think the criticism is quite valid very often. I am not going to, as a fan and listener, pretend that something in its current state is better than it is because I really like a record from 30 years ago. I won't go into specifically who, but I know I am far from the only metalhead who feels this way.
I can praise Kreator for their recent strong release, Gods of Violence, which ups the melodic and anthemic elements they’ve been developing since 2001, while retaining a good amount of the fast stabby riffs. I think this record succeeds where many new metal records by old bands fail because it is a band that is still developing and evolving rather than reaching backwards in a feeble attempt to recapture its own glory days.
It is our aim as musicians to make the metal records we would want to hear. And for me that involves doing metal — riff based, aggressive metal — with all the fire, passion, attention to detail and creativity we can possibly muster. To me, that is what metal is about.