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Good warstructure, but shaky wardesign - 68%

autothrall, March 8th, 2011

The Warchitect is the second Contradiction album through the Armageddon label, their fifth full-length overall and honestly not all that different from its predecessor The Voice of Hatred. Thick, chugging rhythms and meaty vocals are blended with the straight charging of Bay Area-style thrash metal, with perhaps a dash of the great Denmark band Artillery thrown in there for excitement. My initial reaction to this record was one of intimate boredom, but I must have been listening with my rectum and not my ears, because this is actually a step ahead of the last, even though it's only about half worth hearing and the other half too easily forgotten.

They know how to pull you into a track, regardless of whether you'll feel like staying there for long, and they definitely do so with the virulent force of "Your God", which feels like a blend of Slayer, Kreator, Exodus and Vio-Lence with the distinct, hammering vocals of Oliver Lux. Unfortunately, once you get past that initial verse riff, there's not a pleasant surprise to be had, just a series of guitars of diminishing value. Same with "The Warchitect" itself, which has quite a strong melodic setup and another, similar charging riff to "Your God" in the verses, but then also has a pretty boring, if brief breakdown chug. Often the songs will bleed together in composition, technically different but sounding quite the same ("Tunes of War", "The Heritage"), but there's always at least 1-2 redeeming features, except for some of the cuts deeper into the track list like "Peacemaker" which is just flubby groove/thrash metal, or "What Am I" which has amazing vocals but incredibly mundane riffing.

They've got a cover of Motörhead's "Rock'n'Roll" here, but it doesn't really match the band, and with Lux already having such a grimy, industrial gravel voice I didn't feel like there was a need to further ape Lemmy. All said, I will admit that the production on The Warchitect is quite good. It's decent thrashing which never seeks to insult you (outside of maybe having a song called "Thrash Metal") and the guitar tone and vocals sound really good, if methodical. The real issue here is that the band continued to lack distinct songwriting, especially in variation, so a lot o this album just sounds the same. If you're tracking them down for the first time, I'd recommend to start with their 2009 album The Essence of Anger, which is the best I've heard from them yet.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com