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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
Posts: 21
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:20 am 
 

So I read the thread about Warbringer here lately, was moved by the discussion. Thought back on early band days, and I must say it's kind of humbling that people are talking about my band's records in these comparative terms the way I used to argue with my bandmates and metal friends about which Slayer album rules the most, or something of that nature. I'm gonna be turning 30 this year, I started Warbringer when I was 18, it's very near and dear to me.I began writing this bit on the albums in the other thread when it became this long self-examination piece. See if you find it interesting-

WAR WITHOUT END
I have absolutely no musical background before Warbringer, it is my first and only band (Zombie runs parallel to Warbringer, had Adam Carroll and Ryan Bates). Never sang, never played an instrument, dance? Not a chance. Born of the Ruins I think was the fourth song I had ever taken part in writing, Total War was about 6th or 7th. For the early-era Warbringer songs, Laux brought the riffs and I brought the structures/words/ideas. It was really new for both of us, but we never played covers, we just started writing songs from square one. Everything I know about being a singer or music or being in a band I've learned just from jumping in and doing it (thank god there are no super-early recordings of us in circulation). Adam was our drummer for a while before he switched to guitar, and he got incorporated into the songwriting on stuff like At the Crack of Doom and Combat Shock, the later material we made for War Without End, which was written over the whole early period of the band pre-record deal. I have fond memories of this time, jamming in Laux's garage and Ryan Bates' dad's auto shop til crazy hours in the morning in our constant quest to be a sweet band.

We got signed so fast, maybe just over a year after playing our first show we were already being approached. It was kind of crazy and I was really young, when we found we were gonna have a record deal I believe I was still 19. In retrospect I wish we'd had more time for us to, well, exist before recording that record. I hear a lot of bad spots on my own vocals, I sound very young to my own ears now, and my timing/rhythm was weak. There's some cheeseball stock rhymes that I wouldn't be caught dead writing today. And yeah, the drums are sloppy.

That being said, I think this record serves as a pretty strong starting point. At least it's rooted in really fast thrash, which is one of my great passions in life. We were more a speed/power band upon initial conception, I wasn't sold on harsh vocals yet, I wanted to sing more Manowar style at first (my god it was awful). It took finding out about stuff like Pleasure to Kill and Darkness Descends, and from Metal-Archives no less, to change the approach- the rapid fire bark came far more quickly and naturally to me. Also a discovery I made while singing and driving recklessly in my car- Though Eric Adams and Halford falsettos might be out of my reach, I can do some warped version of that high scream from Forward to Termination pretty goddamn loud. ("Cyanide" third chorus I often use as pre-show warmup still) It sounds like someone lit a dude on fire. Cool. Then we wrote "Total War", where the basic concept before writing was "Play as fast as possible, then stop and scream Total War", saw it was much better than our existing previous songs, and from then on the basic concept of our band became "Warbringer is a band that will rip your fucking head off."

This record has, and still receives intense criticism for being sloppy, derivative and offering nothing original to the realm of music... for me this always kind of stung. I really put my heart into this, and therefore didn't go off to a university, and disappointed my family immensely by making the choice to be in a metal band. With the touring schedule of early Warbringer it was basically the >only< thing in my life for many years. I've never worked as hard on anything else. I certainly see the limitations of this record, and I do see it as a starting point. That being said, this is a record written by 19-year olds, and it starts with Total War and ends with Combat Shock. I feel like I have a voice that is easily identifiable, even when compared with my most direct influences (Petrozza, Araya, Steve Reynolds, Rob Urbanati are some top choices for me). The first Warbringer album is also an extremely pure strain of fast thrash metal, and I love that we come from that because the roots of the band are dug firmly with the ideas of blistering speed and aggression.

Never got the metalcore vocalist comparison, I've seen/heard that a few times. If anything I was just a pretty inexperienced/undisciplined vocalist. Never liked metalcore at all myself, was always pretty against it.

At the Crack of Doom is an interesting one here cause we used a blast beat and a black metal riff for the main theme of the song, which was pretty unusual for "new wave of thrash" bands of the time, and there's nothing else like it on the record. It was one of the last ones we wrote on War Without End. I think as soon as we realized the new wave of thrash was becoming a thing, we were already beginning to try to differentiate ourselves. We started to resent some of the ridiculously close-minded attitudes we saw in the scene we were a part of, how it can become anti-creativity, which just sucks. We also started to resent some of the "goofy" approach taken by a lot of other bands in the field... because it's just not the best direction for things, I think. The best "funny" song tops out at like a 7 or 8, and a joke can only be funny so many times. Serious ones can go to 10, and can last forever. These attitudes and some of the ultra-negative reaction War Without End received certainly helped fuel the next record.

I think the answer we came up with, for how to differentiate ourselves from the sudden influx of hi-tops was- to try to make some kind of lethal hybrid strain of super-thrash. I want to make something that is definitely thrash fucking metal, but I don't want it to be superfluous and disposable. I want it to have value. That means we have to be pretty damn clever, because there are some incredible, groundbreaking classic albums in this style. Our basic design philosophy was to distill the elements we most loved from what we saw the be the absolute best of thrash metal, and to do a little DNA splicing with other styles of music (death metal, black metal, heavy metal, bit of hard rock, some prog) that we love as well, so as to avoid using too much from the same bag of tricks. Also, we think that for aggressive blazing fast music, you need to focus harder and write better than usual to get hooks and memorability in the songs. Enunciation is important, words can have power. Lastly, I think a lot of classic-era thrash songs, especially in the late 80s/early 90s era, are too fucking long and the blazing speed can be a wearing-out rather than an adrenaline rush if held for too long without significant variation. We try to make Warbringer songs overall tend to move quick between parts/sections and avoid things like third identical verses and choruses, and trying to always have a little variant on things in place. This is all stuff we were starting to establish during the recording/touring cycle for the first record, the second and third records are really the results of this line of thinking we had. Later records I started approaching lyrics to songs as these kind of self-contained concept pieces, each with their own theme and setting, but at this time I hadn't gotten there yet.

War Without End to me serves as the starting point for my journey with music, that has now gone on over 10 years. I have a strange love/hate relationship with this record. It's definitely not our best one, people who say that- Gotta say, I think you guys are straight up wrong. We improved from here in so many ways as a band. I think the main appeal I find in it is that we are clearly a raw, undeveloped band, but we are going as completely all-out as we possibly could.

If anyone has any questions would be glad to answer!

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FasterDisaster
OMG WAT DOES THIS CAPS LOCK KEY DO

Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:08 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:53 am 
 

I think a lot of first entries in thrash revival acts aren't fantastic, and I still think War Without End is a shitshow from a musical perspective (no offense). Not many people remember the first albums by Bonded By Blood, Merciless Death, Fueled By Fire or Lich King (lol) because they're not very good. I don't doubt you all worked your ass off for War Without End, and I'm not doubting the passion, but that doesn't necessarily mean an album will come together how you picture it in your head.

A couple questions I do have, however:

(1) What sort of musicial criticisms did you and the band take away from War Without End and carried into Waking Into Nightmares? I don't know if this was intentional, but considering many people thought the drumming on War Without End was sloppy and stifling your growth, replacing Ryan Bates and having the first track for Waking Into Nightmares open with a badass drum section seemed a very intentional, awesome and hilarious way to say: "no, we heard you guys about the sloppy drum complaints, we got you."

(2) Ryan Bates was the drummer on War Without End. I don't know the entire story, but what was the reason he was let go? Was it performance related?

(3) If you could go back and change anything about War Without End, what would it be? Or would you? I would absolutely love love love to hear a War Without End v2 2016/2017 version re-recorded, considering your band has come such a long way. Breathing new life into these old songs that some people are lukewarm on could be awesome.

(4) What was up with the cover art for IV: Empires Collapse? That looks like some sludge metal album art. I don't mind it, but I know a lot of people weren't sold on it initially. Were you just trying to get away from generic "thrash" art? (Even though you guys never really had generic thrash art.)

(5) I'm not sure if you have other non-thrash side projects, but is there a genre of music you personally would love to work in? Heavy metal or not, obv.

Thanks for coming to the forum, man. Hopefully you'll stick around!

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Dandelo
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:08 am
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Location: Ireland
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:10 am 
 

Faster Disaster, you have an extremely eloquent way of putting things :lol:

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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
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Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:36 pm 
 

FasterDisaster
- just sort of saying "heres where I/we were at at the time of its making". To say a debut record made by 19 year olds isnt revolutionary or expertly played seems kind of a moot point. For what it is I think ot is pretty decent. War Without End is actually fairly clear on guitars, it's really the "boots in the dryer" kick drum that gives it the sloppiness. It isn't significantly sloppier than say, pleasure to kill, significantly tighter in some ways actually. Like I said, I see it as a starting point.

1 and 2- drums, Ryan actually got super negative-minded and quit after the bands first euro tour with suffocation and napalm death. He just hated touring. We rehearsed for 1-2months with Nic ritter, his first show was Wacken 2008. This is the point where the band begins to really begin sounding professional, Nic was older than us and obviously was a big step up for drums.
Other than that, just how young and green we knew we were. Its part of why Waking has so much of a more dark and serious tone than the first record, and more stylistic forays outside of thrash

3- Today probably only Combat Shock would pass songwriting muster. I wouldn't re-do this record or anything, but if we play first album stuff live now it sounds a >lot< tighter. The "War Without End Live" event was basically our attempt to do that in show-form.

4- John Laux's influence. He was basically getting sick of metal and thrash, its conventions. In trying to keep him happy so he wouldn't leave the band, I compromised my own vision for this thing a little, which stains it for me. He left anyway and Warbringer completely fell apart after this record. We were getting really sick of being told we were entirely derivative when I don't think that statement applies to us post-first album. We wanted to make a record that was so obviously different that people can't even say its just aping 80s thrash. I think it succeeded, but some of the decisions we made (the cover art, the IV is stupid, a couple of the more lighthearted tracks). Ill write a long piece on that record if anyone finds this stuff interesting and I get there

5- If anything else, just some soulful, melodic NWOBHM-y stuff with a bit of an epic/mystical bent. Some wise, sad wizard music with rad guitars. thought of recording/putting out a cover EP of me singing on stuff like Virtue-Fool's Gold and Legend-Warrior that I love. My clean voice isnt where I'd like it to be for that, but it's coming along.

Did you guys enjoy the post? It it interesting to read this sort of stuff?

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Metantoine
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:54 pm 
 

I'm not a Warbringer fan (nor a big thrash lover) but it's really cool that you took the time to post here! Your posts are insightful.
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FasterDisaster
OMG WAT DOES THIS CAPS LOCK KEY DO

Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:08 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 12:54 pm 
 

AmIKevill wrote:
To say a debut record made by 19 year olds isnt revolutionary or expertly played seems kind of a moot point. For what it is I think ot is pretty decent. War Without End is actually fairly clear on guitars, it's really the "boots in the dryer" kick drum that gives it the sloppiness. It isn't significantly sloppier than say, pleasure to kill, significantly tighter in some ways actually. Like I said, I see it as a starting point.

A couple of things:

1. So I don't expect a debut to be "revolutionary" or necessarily expertly played, but I also think you should be competent enough to play the style you're going for. That's how the best albums are made, whether it's the first, third or tenth. Ask OverKill. This clearly changed after War Without End, and musicians grow and change with the music (as I'm sure you're aware) - but to me, War Without End doesn't have the brutal-ness, oppressive atmosphere or super-catchy riffs to make up for the sloppiness. Pleasure To Kill is a fucking jackhammer of an album, and it's sloppy as fuck, but it works.

That's just a judgement on the album's face, separate from the age you all were when it was made.

2. I think the idea of "we want to play thrash, but not like the thrash that's been done before" feels like a really bad way to go about making thrash metal. In all earnestness, Vektor is one of the only current thrash acts that can claim that successfully, and even they are aping a derivative style (known as Voivod), even though their pushing its absolute limits.

Thrash metal just doesn't have a lot of wiggle room unfortunately, unless it gets paired with death metal, black metal, or other subgenres. I think WarBringer is totally thrash through-in-through, but I feel wanting to move away from thrash while still trying to be thrash is a bad idea, as I mentioned, unless you're pairing it with other very specific influences and styles. Because the sound is watered down - then you get '90s Sepultura (which nobody wants) and countless numbers of groove metal bands trying to be thrash.

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thrashinbatman
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Joined: Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:31 pm
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:15 pm 
 

It's really cool to see a guy like you coming here and talking openly to everybody. You guys are incredible, and I'm very happy to see Warbringer come back, because it sucked watching you guys and Evile, IMO some of the best among the new thrash bands, fall through. I'd definitely like to hear about what happened around IV, because it seems like a very interesting time for you guys.

I definitely understand the desire to break away in thrash. It has always been a very derivative style of metal, and it takes a lot of skill to make your own style in the genre. I would say thrash in the 00's and 10's has seen a lot of bands that simply ape Exodus and Overkill without any of the elements that make those bands worth listening to, such as catchy songwriting and interesting riffs. Warbringer was one of the few bands that broke away from that. I listen to Warbringer because I want to hear Warbringer, not because I want to keep listening to Overkill but I've heard all of their relevant material. Thrash is a great genre to blend with another style, and that provides an outlet to find one's own style.

I've got two questions for you guys:

1. How did it feel to work with Gary Holt on Waking? Especially after coming off of that first album, I imagine it was quite exciting to work with a big influence like him?
2. Why the fuck did IV not continue the "W" trend? You guys had a thing going like Morbid Angel, and then you guys got rid of it. :P
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mjollnir
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:25 pm 
 

It's great to see Mr. Kevill posting here. I saw Warbringer at Jaxx opening for Finntroll and I remember my first thought was, "This is some killer thrash." It was raw, in your face metal. I'm glad that the band was able to keep it together....it seemed touch and go there for a while. I hope we see more posts from him.
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TheExodusAttack
Metalhead

Joined: Sun May 10, 2009 4:16 am
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 1:39 pm 
 

Since Waking Itno Nightmares is pretty unanimously everyone's favorite, I think we'd all be interested in a retrospective on that album.

AmIKevill wrote:
5- If anything else, just some soulful, melodic NWOBHM-y stuff with a bit of an epic/mystical bent. Some wise, sad wizard music with rad guitars. thought of recording/putting out a cover EP of me singing on stuff like Virtue-Fool's Gold and Legend-Warrior that I love. My clean voice isnt where I'd like it to be for that, but it's coming along.

AmIKevill wrote:
We were more a speed/power band upon initial conception, I wasn't sold on harsh vocals yet, I wanted to sing more Manowar style at first (my god it was awful).

Haha damn I did not know about this! This would have been really interesting to hear. Would definitely love to see a little side project come out of this. If you're still kicking it around Ventura/Newbury Park/wherever and you're into epic/trad metal stuff, are you going to Frost and Fire fest this year? The idea of something like that happening in lil ol' Ventura would have blow my mind back in high school (and still kinda does today). Makes me almost regret moving out of the there and going to college in Northern California :lol: You guys were such a big inspiration to me and my friends when I was a dorky little 16 year old exploring metal. We had a lot of idiotic inside jokes based on your songs. I'm pretty sure that I signed up for this forum the day after the Homecoming show with Exmortus actually, it was so fun and really cemented to me that heavy music is my shit and I'm sticking with it. That was actually my first local/non-arena type metal show, so it all started with you guys :beer:

Would be interested to know what Warbringer songs are your favorite, and generally what are your favorite bands to play with/funny standout memories from touring?

Also, if there are any new, up and coming metal bands you feel like supporting and hyping up?
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SkullFracturingNightmare
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 4:46 pm 
 

As I said in the other topic, I kinda prefer the versions of songs that originally appeared on One by One, The Wicked Fall to their re-recorded War Without End versions, but WWE has some other great songs too like Dread Command, Combat Shock, and Born of the Ruins. I discovered Warbringer pretty early on in getting into metal so I wasn't familiar with a lot of post-2000 thrash bands, and I just find this War Without End album on Youtube and it's rocking my shit more than anything I'd heard before.

So I've still got some first exposure bias towards the debut even though everything that came after it was a major improvement.
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Spiner202
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:07 pm 
 

I do have one question for John that I've always been curious about from some of the younger bands: what are your thoughts on the bands that the old thrash guard take on tour with them? You guys have been fortunate to be on the Kreator/Exodus 2009 tour and the Kreator/Overkill 2013 tour (and possibly others), but I've always been disappointed at how rarely these bands take the younger thrash bands on tour with them. Slayer, Anthrax, Death Angel, Testament, and others always just tour together in some combination. Do you think that the fact that these bands won't take the younger bands on tour with them has made it impossible for young thrash bands to get any bigger than you guys or Vektor?

FasterDisaster wrote:
I think a lot of first entries in thrash revival acts aren't fantastic, and I still think War Without End is a shitshow from a musical perspective (no offense). Not many people remember the first albums by Bonded By Blood, Merciless Death, Fueled By Fire or Lich King (lol) because they're not very good. I don't doubt you all worked your ass off for War Without End, and I'm not doubting the passion, but that doesn't necessarily mean an album will come together how you picture it in your head.

While I have lower standards than most for thrash, that first Bonded By Blood record is essential IMO. One of the defining new wave of thrash records for me.

Quote:
Thanks for coming to the forum, man. Hopefully you'll stick around!


He was one of many regular thrash band members on Thrash Unlimited (back when we actually had some activity), so it would be nice to see him stick around here too!

AmIKevill wrote:
Nic was older than us and obviously was a big step up for drums


Carlos is honestly a great drummer, and probably far more technically skilled than Nic, but Waking Into Nightmares is definitely my favourite Warbringer drum performance. Tons of insane playing on that album.

thrashinbatman wrote:
2. Why the fuck did IV not continue the "W" trend? You guys had a thing going like Morbid Angel, and then you guys got rid of it.


I thought the album was technically called "Warbringer IV: Empires Collapse", so that would continue the "W" trend. I might be wrong on that one though.
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Deathdoom1992
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:17 pm 
 

Continuing from Spiner's question, do you see the whole "neo-thrash" movement as a thing and something you're part of or just a group of modern bands which've come to prominence at a similar time to each other?
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Twisted_Psychology
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:45 pm 
 

I haven't listened to War Without End in a couple years but I always thought it was decent. The guitar tone was what always seemed inferior to me compared to later efforts; the more fiery tone is cool and all but the tone on Waking Into Nightmares and Worlds Torn Asunder is really unique compared to most thrash. Also, why doesn't anyone ever talk about Shoot To Kill? The chorus is great and I've always liked that breakdown.

We need commentaries on all the Warbringer albums immediately. I'd especially be curious to hear what was going on for Empires Collapse as it did kinda feel like a misstep in comparison. And tell all of your peers to get on here so they can talk about their albums. Metal forums need more album commentary threads, damn it!
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Zodijackyl
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:02 am 
 

AmIKevill wrote:
Did you guys enjoy the post? It it interesting to read this sort of stuff?


Very much, thanks for sharing all of this with us.

It is interesting to know that you originally wanted to sing, and the band was originally conceived as a speed/power band. Have you ever considered bringing either of those into the band, in recent years? I suppose I should break it down into a few different questions:

As the vocalist, have you considered adding more melody or a dynamic contrast to the sharp, harsh vocals?

I understand the guitarists are the ones who write the riffs, and this might be a bit different before/after John Laux left the band. Five other guitarists played alongside him. Did you and/or him ever consider looking for a different approach, or a different dynamic from a second guitarist? I find this particularly interesting, since you mentioned that he was tiring of thrash, and the speed/power origins.

I remember you wearing a Crystal Logic shirt in a video about five years ago. Was Manilla Road one of the bands you discovered on Metal Archives? *Everyone* on this site is a fan, it's actually mandatory.

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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
Posts: 21
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:18 am 
 

Metantoine wrote:
I'm not a Warbringer fan (nor a big thrash lover) but it's really cool that you took the time to post here! Your posts are insightful.


Hey, thanks man! Appreciate you taking the time to read something written by the dude from a band you don't care for :P
FasterDisaster wrote:

FasterDisaster wrote:
1. So I don't expect a debut to be "revolutionary" or necessarily expertly played, but I also think you should be competent enough to play the style you're going for. That's how the best albums are made, whether it's the first, third or tenth. Ask OverKill. This clearly changed after War Without End, and musicians grow and change with the music (as I'm sure you're aware) - but to me, War Without End doesn't have the brutal-ness, oppressive atmosphere or super-catchy riffs to make up for the sloppiness. Pleasure To Kill is a fucking jackhammer of an album, and it's sloppy as fuck, but it works.

That's just a judgement on the album's face, separate from the age you all were when it was made.

2. I think the idea of "we want to play thrash, but not like the thrash that's been done before" feels like a really bad way to go about making thrash metal. In all earnestness, Vektor is one of the only current thrash acts that can claim that successfully, and even they are aping a derivative style (known as Voivod), even though their pushing its absolute limits.

Thrash metal just doesn't have a lot of wiggle room unfortunately, unless it gets paired with death metal, black metal, or other subgenres. I think WarBringer is totally thrash through-in-through, but I feel wanting to move away from thrash while still trying to be thrash is a bad idea, as I mentioned, unless you're pairing it with other very specific influences and styles. Because the sound is watered down - then you get '90s Sepultura (which nobody wants) and countless numbers of groove metal bands trying to be thrash.


1- Damn FasterDisaster! I'm pretty sure I acknowledged the records limitations... I agree with ya. I'm not trying to say "you guys are all wrong and War Without End is an incredible record!", just more a "Here's where it comes from and the context of how it was made, and why it is the way it is."

2- I mean, the style/approach and design philosophy I described is basically what resulted in Waking and Worlds. Of course we are pairing with other specific influences and styles, we have a specific vision and aren't just doing shit all willy-nilly. My basic approach is we stick in "neighboring territory" most of the time, but not specifically one neighbor, if that makes sense. Speed metal, heavy metal, death metal, and black metal are all just one small step away from thrash, and some types of thrash already adopt proggy songwriting.

In fact, I think the whole "thrash is kind of a narrow genre" thing is just completely false. I can basically prove it. Check it out.

See, Epidemic of Violence sounds practically nothing like Punishment for Decadence which doesn't really have much in common with Bonded by Blood. You might say "But Kevill! One of those is brutal death thrash, another is neoclassical technical thrash, and another is straight thrash-thrash!" and I would say "Exactly!" and hand you a cookie.
The very fact that there even are sub-genres of this genre means that there was music within it that was different enough that people thought they needed to attach more words to describe it besides just "thrash". If this diversity in the genre didn't exist in the music, it probably wouldn't exist in our language either. That is the logic of my "proof" here.

Another thought- Master of Puppets is definitely a thrash album, but by composition and style a lot of the songs and passages are not what you'd call thrash metal at all. Not the only album where this is the case at all, but a really obvious example.
Thrash metal, even when >only< considering up to 1992, is already a fairly wide genre. You can differentiate it heavily by time too... the stuff of 84-85 is usually quite different sounding from thrash records in 88-89 even.

Re:Vektor, they don't actually sound very much like voivod to me. Parts of toxik "think this" gave me the vibe instrumentally, though I haven't heard that one in a good while and this may be slightly off-base. Aspid is also a good place to look. Blake drummed for Warbringer on the Empires euro tour, we talked about music a lot. Love those dudes. I think they are more comparable to Voivod for the logo and aesthetic than anything else. Though I could be wrong, I never much cared for Voivod myself.

Starting new post for more replies. Thanks for the interest guys! This is kinda fun.

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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:41 am 
 

thrashinbatman wrote:
It's really cool to see a guy like you coming here and talking openly to everybody. You guys are incredible, and I'm very happy to see Warbringer come back, because it sucked watching you guys and Evile, IMO some of the best among the new thrash bands, fall through. I'd definitely like to hear about what happened around IV, because it seems like a very interesting time for you guys.

I definitely understand the desire to break away in thrash. It has always been a very derivative style of metal, and it takes a lot of skill to make your own style in the genre. I would say thrash in the 00's and 10's has seen a lot of bands that simply ape Exodus and Overkill without any of the elements that make those bands worth listening to, such as catchy songwriting and interesting riffs. Warbringer was one of the few bands that broke away from that. I listen to Warbringer because I want to hear Warbringer, not because I want to keep listening to Overkill but I've heard all of their relevant material. Thrash is a great genre to blend with another style, and that provides an outlet to find one's own style.

I've got two questions for you guys:

1. How did it feel to work with Gary Holt on Waking? Especially after coming off of that first album, I imagine it was quite exciting to work with a big influence like him?
2. Why the fuck did IV not continue the "W" trend? You guys had a thing going like Morbid Angel, and then you guys got rid of it. :P


Golly, thanks, Batman!
Yeah, having your roots in something is different from trying to >be< that thing. Some young fellas in a band somewhere in Australia told me they were starting a band and they wanted to be pure Exodus worship, as in that was exactly what he said. I just don't understand why do that. I also don't understand why people play in cover bands. Just- why? At least try to splice a few different things you love to make your own blend, even if its a "safe" pick it can be totally worth while if well-crafted and executed.

1- Awesome! Great fella. We were up in Oakland and I gotta say he was there first thing in the morning every single day. We were sleeping in pretty spartan conditions (basically a bare room in the studio building) while recording Waking Into Nightmares, which we did in 2 weeks. Was of great aid in the guitar tone. We went out on our first tour ever with Exodus, so Gary probably has more embarrassing stories of shit I did than I care to admit.

2-Technically- Warbringer IV: Empires Collapse. But yeah, not actually a W title. The W thing was semi-accidental. Empires was in many ways a deliberate attempt to go "OK so if at this point you say "Warbringer merely apes Slayer!" that you would basically be a complete fucking idiot with no ears or eyes and just wasn't paying attention. The art was towards this idea as well. We'd been putting our efforts into creating our own brand if you will, and people just didn't seem to notice.

The new one's had it's title chosen for months, it's a W

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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
Posts: 21
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:49 am 
 

TheExodusAttack wrote:
Since Waking Itno Nightmares is pretty unanimously everyone's favorite, I think we'd all be interested in a retrospective on that album.

AmIKevill wrote:
5- If anything else, just some soulful, melodic NWOBHM-y stuff with a bit of an epic/mystical bent. Some wise, sad wizard music with rad guitars. thought of recording/putting out a cover EP of me singing on stuff like Virtue-Fool's Gold and Legend-Warrior that I love. My clean voice isnt where I'd like it to be for that, but it's coming along.

AmIKevill wrote:
We were more a speed/power band upon initial conception, I wasn't sold on harsh vocals yet, I wanted to sing more Manowar style at first (my god it was awful).

Haha damn I did not know about this! This would have been really interesting to hear. Would definitely love to see a little side project come out of this. If you're still kicking it around Ventura/Newbury Park/wherever and you're into epic/trad metal stuff, are you going to Frost and Fire fest this year? The idea of something like that happening in lil ol' Ventura would have blow my mind back in high school (and still kinda does today). Makes me almost regret moving out of the there and going to college in Northern California :lol: You guys were such a big inspiration to me and my friends when I was a dorky little 16 year old exploring metal. We had a lot of idiotic inside jokes based on your songs. I'm pretty sure that I signed up for this forum the day after the Homecoming show with Exmortus actually, it was so fun and really cemented to me that heavy music is my shit and I'm sticking with it. That was actually my first local/non-arena type metal show, so it all started with you guys :beer:

Would be interested to know what Warbringer songs are your favorite, and generally what are your favorite bands to play with/funny standout memories from touring?

Also, if there are any new, up and coming metal bands you feel like supporting and hyping up?


Funny you say that. For my, first album of ours is my own "Dorky 16 year old self exploring metal" period. And I went last year, was cool, met Mark Shelton and hung out in the parking lot. I can do a pretty good mark shelton impersonation. I love Manilla Road.

Favorite songs by album
1- Combat Shock
2- Severed Reality (for me the stylistically definitive song on Waking)
3- Living Weapon (honorable mentions- Future Ages Gone, Demonic Esctasy)
4- Towers of the Serpent

I think hunter seeker and towers (especially towers) are two of the strongest and most complete Warbringer songs overall in regards to lyrics/composition.

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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
Posts: 21
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:51 am 
 

mjollnir wrote:
It's great to see Mr. Kevill posting here. I saw Warbringer at Jaxx opening for Finntroll and I remember my first thought was, "This is some killer thrash." It was raw, in your face metal. I'm glad that the band was able to keep it together....it seemed touch and go there for a while. I hope we see more posts from him.


Going for a series here! should be 4 extensive posts about the records.
We were fucked for a good few years. We have recently come back online due to continued maintenance and efforts. Hope this goes well...

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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
Posts: 21
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:56 am 
 

SkullFracturingNightmare wrote:
As I said in the other topic, I kinda prefer the versions of songs that originally appeared on One by One, The Wicked Fall to their re-recorded War Without End versions, but WWE has some other great songs too like Dread Command, Combat Shock, and Born of the Ruins. I discovered Warbringer pretty early on in getting into metal so I wasn't familiar with a lot of post-2000 thrash bands, and I just find this War Without End album on Youtube and it's rocking my shit more than anything I'd heard before.

So I've still got some first exposure bias towards the debut even though everything that came after it was a major improvement.


I think the drums sounded better on the EP. Timing wise, the vocals are an absolute fucking mess there.

Hey man, I'm pretty sure I've spoken to you in person a few times. "SkullFracturingNightmare"

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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
Posts: 21
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:21 am 
 

Spiner202 wrote:
I do have one question for John that I've always been curious about from some of the younger bands: what are your thoughts on the bands that the old thrash guard take on tour with them? You guys have been fortunate to be on the Kreator/Exodus 2009 tour and the Kreator/Overkill 2013 tour (and possibly others), but I've always been disappointed at how rarely these bands take the younger thrash bands on tour with them. Slayer, Anthrax, Death Angel, Testament, and others always just tour together in some combination. Do you think that the fact that these bands won't take the younger bands on tour with them has made it impossible for young thrash bands to get any bigger than you guys or Vektor?

FasterDisaster wrote:
I think a lot of first entries in thrash revival acts aren't fantastic, and I still think War Without End is a shitshow from a musical perspective (no offense). Not many people remember the first albums by Bonded By Blood, Merciless Death, Fueled By Fire or Lich King (lol) because they're not very good. I don't doubt you all worked your ass off for War Without End, and I'm not doubting the passion, but that doesn't necessarily mean an album will come together how you picture it in your head.

While I have lower standards than most for thrash, that first Bonded By Blood record is essential IMO. One of the defining new wave of thrash records for me.

Quote:
Thanks for coming to the forum, man. Hopefully you'll stick around!


He was one of many regular thrash band members on Thrash Unlimited (back when we actually had some activity), so it would be nice to see him stick around here too!

AmIKevill wrote:
Nic was older than us and obviously was a big step up for drums


Carlos is honestly a great drummer, and probably far more technically skilled than Nic, but Waking Into Nightmares is definitely my favourite Warbringer drum performance. Tons of insane playing on that album.

thrashinbatman wrote:
2. Why the fuck did IV not continue the "W" trend? You guys had a thing going like Morbid Angel, and then you guys got rid of it.


I thought the album was technically called "Warbringer IV: Empires Collapse", so that would continue the "W" trend. I might be wrong on that one though.


I've had friendly conversations and support from members of many bands, and toured with a number of great acts. But there aren't any old bands really >championing< new ones.
I mean, Megadeth was with Havok at least on their tour bills for a good minute. You can read what happened there on the gossip sites. My take on this-

Havok is a strong band. They deserve some push and exposure. There are others in our scene who also fit that description (waves flag). There's more. It would be great if a band like megadeth would take out a Havok >because they wanted to champion new music< and not because of some simply pragmatic reason. In many cases the investment simply isn't there in bands like ours?
A band like Metallica can do whatever the fuck they want, and guys like this have power to help push forward bands like Warbringer (or Havok, or Vektor, or Toxic Holocaust, etc etc) in a big way. Why is no one >really< doing that?

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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
Posts: 21
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:30 am 
 

Deathdoom1992 wrote:
Continuing from Spiner's question, do you see the whole "neo-thrash" movement as a thing and something you're part of or just a group of modern bands which've come to prominence at a similar time to each other?


In our specific area I went to a show 20 minutes from our home where I saw Fueled By Fire and Merciless Death at the Cobalt Cafe in the San Fernando Valley. Warbringer hadn't played a show yet, but we'd been song-smithing.

I think there was just something in the water... I actually think this site and the ever-increasing proliferation of file-sharing in the early 2000's exposed a whole new generation to thrash metal- and not just Master of Puppets, but all kinds of bitchin' riffy shit.

I think also with how big emo/metalcore was, symphonic metal, folk metal, all the keyboards and breakdowns and clicky tech death drums etc etc at that time... I think for a lot of kids like me, the metal of the day just wasn't fucking metal enough. I think that's the fundamental reason the whole thing started so much at the same time.

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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
Posts: 21
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:32 am 
 

Twisted_Psychology wrote:
I haven't listened to War Without End in a couple years but I always thought it was decent. The guitar tone was what always seemed inferior to me compared to later efforts; the more fiery tone is cool and all but the tone on Waking Into Nightmares and Worlds Torn Asunder is really unique compared to most thrash. Also, why doesn't anyone ever talk about Shoot To Kill? The chorus is great and I've always liked that breakdown.

We need commentaries on all the Warbringer albums immediately. I'd especially be curious to hear what was going on for Empires Collapse as it did kinda feel like a misstep in comparison. And tell all of your peers to get on here so they can talk about their albums. Metal forums need more album commentary threads, damn it!


Yeah, Waking and Worlds are definitely stronger sonically than first album by miles.
Shoot to kill is one of the most lovably easy riffs ever. My first attempt at a midpacer like people of the lie or toxic waltz.

I'll be working on them as time and energy dictates. Probably a week-ish between each.

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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
Posts: 21
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:47 am 
 

Zodijackyl wrote:
AmIKevill wrote:
Did you guys enjoy the post? It it interesting to read this sort of stuff?


Very much, thanks for sharing all of this with us.

It is interesting to know that you originally wanted to sing, and the band was originally conceived as a speed/power band. Have you ever considered bringing either of those into the band, in recent years? I suppose I should break it down into a few different questions:

As the vocalist, have you considered adding more melody or a dynamic contrast to the sharp, harsh vocals?

I understand the guitarists are the ones who write the riffs, and this might be a bit different before/after John Laux left the band. Five other guitarists played alongside him. Did you and/or him ever consider looking for a different approach, or a different dynamic from a second guitarist? I find this particularly interesting, since you mentioned that he was tiring of thrash, and the speed/power origins.

I remember you wearing a Crystal Logic shirt in a video about five years ago. Was Manilla Road one of the bands you discovered on Metal Archives? *Everyone* on this site is a fan, it's actually mandatory.


Good question!
Basically, no, we want to be an ugly and brutal band at the core. I thought about it... I think rather than "add clean vocals", "extend the expressive range of the harsh vocals" is more the aim. They aren't necessarily more melodic (on this upcoming record) but I use more space in the vocal lines, and I studied music and vocals each for a semester in the off time of Warbringer. I sang disney songs mainly, I got an A in the class, and in theory too. I found I actually knew a lot of the things already but not the terminology. Anyway, I will often warm up with some soft melodic vocal stuff now just to get me in that >mindset< before I go and scream at things. It's easy to lose discipline and go overly all out with the raw fury and power I'll feel performing this music at full blast. I'm a lot more controlled now.

Adam wrote songs on every album except Empires, and on Worlds and Empires, Carlos Cruz starts composing and arranging songs too. Those guys and me are really the only dudes who have I'm always involved on some level, usually "the conceptualizer", though certain riffs here and there I wrote by humming and then having one of the guitar players (usually laux) actually play. The total war riff "bombs are falling, death is calling" one, that's a hum-riff.
Right now the songwriting partnership we have going is Me-Carroll-Cruz, and I think it's been killer.

Glad you liked the article!
I think that wraps it up... I did my best to respond to every post here. I'll do the waking one fairly soon, since people seemed to enjoy this. I may or may not answer any further questions in this thread, my keyboard is on fire.

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Paka01
Metal newbie

Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 12:34 pm
Posts: 320
Location: Croatia
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:50 am 
 

It's great to hear all these stories about Warbringer directly from you John, we rarely have opportunity to hear these things firsthand.
I just wanted to say I really liked IV, probably more than any other Warbringer album, along with that untypical artwork. It really works great as a whole. I still hope to see you for the third time live, last two shows in Croatia were fantastic. The first one at Željezničar, Zagreb (in 2011) was really great gig.
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Lagartija
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2006 10:27 am
Posts: 869
Location: Spain
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 5:02 am 
 

I think that album fucking rips, I don't care if it is 'sloppy' or 'derivative'. By the way, I saw you guys in Valencia (Spain) with Iced Earth and you slayed!

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FasterDisaster
OMG WAT DOES THIS CAPS LOCK KEY DO

Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2007 2:08 pm
Posts: 7385
PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:41 am 
 

AmIKevill wrote:
1- Damn FasterDisaster! I'm pretty sure I acknowledged the records limitations... I agree with ya. I'm not trying to say "you guys are all wrong and War Without End is an incredible record!", just more a "Here's where it comes from and the context of how it was made, and why it is the way it is."

Sorry dude, sometimes I retread the same ground without thinking about, so apologies if it makes me come off as super aggressive - that's not my intent. I think we're pretty much on the same wavelength regarding your debut, actually. Having said that, WarBringer is one of the first thrash revival acts that went through major growth periods throughout your career, because we've gotten to see a lot of different sides of you guys from War Without End all the way through IV: Empires Collapse.

Speaking on "major growth periods" - I know I talked some shit about Bonded By Blood previously, but I love their sophmore effort, Exiled To Earth and seemed to be a necessary transition from the more bouncy stuff on their debut.

Actual questions for you: (1) what kind of music do you listen to in this day and age, and how does that compare with before you started playing in a band? Do you listen to a lot of thrash, or do you go the opposite direction and dive deep into some blues or jazz?

(2) Also, because this is always a hot topic on the forum and you'll make both Diamhea and I very happy, what are your thoughts on OverKill, and what do you think of their last three albums? I was shocked a band at their age was able to essentially do a 180-degree turn this late in their career after a stint of bad albums, and pump out three absolute classic thrash records that are both old school as fuck and modern as fuck. What are your thoughts on IronBound, The Electric Age and their most recent: White Devil Armory?

I plan to revisit your discography here in the next couple of days, so I'm sure I'll have more questions or comments for you as that happens.

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AmIKevill
Mallcore Kid

Joined: Wed Aug 24, 2016 1:11 pm
Posts: 21
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 2:01 am 
 

FasterDisaster wrote:
AmIKevill wrote:
1- Damn FasterDisaster! I'm pretty sure I acknowledged the records limitations... I agree with ya. I'm not trying to say "you guys are all wrong and War Without End is an incredible record!", just more a "Here's where it comes from and the context of how it was made, and why it is the way it is."

Sorry dude, sometimes I retread the same ground without thinking about, so apologies if it makes me come off as super aggressive - that's not my intent. I think we're pretty much on the same wavelength regarding your debut, actually. Having said that, WarBringer is one of the first thrash revival acts that went through major growth periods throughout your career, because we've gotten to see a lot of different sides of you guys from War Without End all the way through IV: Empires Collapse.

Speaking on "major growth periods" - I know I talked some shit about Bonded By Blood previously, but I love their sophmore effort, Exiled To Earth and seemed to be a necessary transition from the more bouncy stuff on their debut.

Actual questions for you: (1) what kind of music do you listen to in this day and age, and how does that compare with before you started playing in a band? Do you listen to a lot of thrash, or do you go the opposite direction and dive deep into some blues or jazz?

(2) Also, because this is always a hot topic on the forum and you'll make both Diamhea and I very happy, what are your thoughts on OverKill, and what do you think of their last three albums? I was shocked a band at their age was able to essentially do a 180-degree turn this late in their career after a stint of bad albums, and pump out three absolute classic thrash records that are both old school as fuck and modern as fuck. What are your thoughts on IronBound, The Electric Age and their most recent: White Devil Armory?

I plan to revisit your discography here in the next couple of days, so I'm sure I'll have more questions or comments for you as that happens.


Hey no problem. In making a public post on the webs, I open myself up to criticism. That's how it goes.

1- My own core jams are pretty unchanged. Hard rock>heavy metal>thrash metal, old prog. Some death and black metal but I'm pickier with fast/extreme stuff (including thrash). You have to work harder to have actual songs at blistering tempos and while screaming I think.
I enjoy something from most genres, but I am a highly analytical/critical listener as well. I enjoy honestly the majority of classical-type music (widest possible umbrella definition to include stuff like solo piano music, etc). I like a good deal of just super catchy pop songs (not too many from modern era), the 80's- early 90's west coast era of rap, funk, soul, old folksy-type country, blues, jazz. I wouldn't say I'm well versed in these genres like I am in metal and rock, but honestly around the home my lady plays music most of the time. I am a very active music listener so I don't just have background music on all the time like some people, it can drive my brain crazy.

The main comparison from earlier- I still like basically the exact same metal stuff as I always have (some all time favorites- Bathory (Twilight of the Gods is favorite record but great band all around), Manilla Road, Virgin Steele, Kreator, Slayer, Demo Hammer (second album is my favorite), Maiden, Priest, Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, Dio, etc etc)

2-Overkill is always pretty damn solid. I feel they are more centered around Blitz's sweet voice/attitude compared to the pure riffage approach of something like classic Sepultura. I have to say, havent checked out the last two, heard some of the Electric Age. Ironbound is pretty damn strong.

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Metal_On_The_Ascendant
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri May 22, 2015 6:38 am
Posts: 162
PostPosted: Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:46 am 
 

I just want to say thank you for contributing to the Archives Forum. A lot of your answers here have provided necessary insight and inspired me to give Warbringer more than the casual listen.

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Dr_Prozac
Metal newbie

Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2013 10:56 am
Posts: 73
Location: Spain
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 2:13 pm 
 

First of all, let me say that it's really nice to have you around talking about your music and showing that you are really interested in fans' feedback.

As for the album, I fucking love it but, to be honest, is really hard for me to make an objective review. The circunstamces in which this album came to me were very special. At that time I was kind of disappointed with the modern thrash metal scene. I was thinking that there were no bands doing stuff as agressive as "Reign in Blood" anymore and then I found WWE and I thought "Yeaaah, that is exactly what I was looking for". After that I started checking more modern thrash and I found out that there were plenty of bands doing some good stuff out there, so we could say that this is the album that made me regain faith in modern thrash.

However, I've read a lot of people criticizing strongly this albums and I can see why. I guess that this first record can sound a bit too simple in comparison with the rest of Warbringer's albums. Warbringer has done a very good progression along it's career; each album sounds more mature and technical than the previous one...much to my disappointment. Telling you that you should make an album like WWE again would be an awful piece of advice, but that is exactly what I would like you to do. I miss that raw and agressive sound (even though some people may also call it simple or unoriginal) of that first record.

In fact, I think that I haven't paid the albums that came after this the attention they deserve because when I listened to them I was obsessively looking for the raw sound of WWE (and not finding it as much as I would like) rather than trying to see what they had to offer. "IV" is a hell of an album and I didn't realised it until I listened to it with a new approach.

To sum up, WWE it's my favourite Warbringer album but, if I am objective I've got to say that is also it's worst. Even so, I think is far from being a bad album.
I couldn't express it better than Lagartija did, so I'll just quote him:
Lagartija wrote:
I think that album fucking rips, I don't care if it is 'sloppy' or 'derivative'.


PS:There are probably some expressions that are not totally correct there. Sorry, English is not my native language and sometimes I find so hard to find a way to say what I really want to say.

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SkullFracturingNightmare
Metalhead

Joined: Thu Nov 14, 2013 7:20 pm
Posts: 809
Location: United States
PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2016 2:52 pm 
 

AmIKevill wrote:
I think the drums sounded better on the EP. Timing wise, the vocals are an absolute fucking mess there.

Hey man, I'm pretty sure I've spoken to you in person a few times. "SkullFracturingNightmare"

Yeah, the drums were much better on the EP. They didn't sound as crisp on the debut, but Total War was pretty much the only song where I really missed the EP drum sound on.

You might have me confused with someone else haha. I've only seen you guys once (earlier this year during the tour with Enforcer/Cauldron/Exmortus), and I'm usually too timid to speak with band members either in between sets or after the show. You might've seen me standing by another one of my friends who was talking to you, though! Hahaha.
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