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Lich King has made waves in the metal community primarily for their comedic take on thrash, i.e. "Black Metal Sucks", "Attack of the Wrath of the War of the Death of the Strike of the Sword of the Blood of the Beast". However, unlike their contemporaries in Gama Bomb this element of the band seems to feel more childish and contrived. Luckily, the band has seemingly taken notice of this and released two more serious albums, 'World Gone Dead' and this, 'Born of the Bomb'. With this album we see perhaps the best production the band has achieved so far. Lich King offers here solid riffing, crisp drumming, but unfortunately still, subpar vocals. Despite this, Tom Martin sounds the best on this album than he has ever before, and that makes this the most palatable Lich King album to date.
Instrumentally, we're not given much here that others in the current thrash world aren't already doing better. This has always been my primary gripe with Lich King, that besides an annoying singer they don't offer anything out of the basic thrash mold. Yet even still, the songwriting here is the best we've seen from Lich King yet, "Agnosticism" and "In the End, Devastation" being the most notable among them. "Agnosticism" really is the crown jewel of the album, and showcases the better side of Lich King, with a more serious message and matured, pertinent writing.
The rhythm section with Brian Westbrook (drums) and Dave Hughes (bass) are thunderous and the better production in particular really brings out their ferocity. Joe Nickerson (rhythm guitar) has accomplished a good, gritty tone and is consistently tight throughout.
It goes without saying, as it's been said before a hundred times, but they really did nail the Agent Steel "Agents of Steel" cover. This album really is on the whole a good throwback to some classic thrash, but it just doesn't live up to what other contemporaries are doing nowadays with Havok, Warbringer, and Gama Bomb. This is a good album for those looking to explore what's going on the underground thrash scene now, but it's hard to recommend it as a "must hear!" album. Good hooks and riffs throughout, recommended to fans of the late 2000's thrash movement and old school thrash.
Highlights: "Agnosticism", "Axe Cop", "In the End, Devastation"
To be honest I wasn't really following Lich King and looking forward to this release since the only song I listen to with this band is Black Metal Sucks and their Aggressive Perfector cover. But why do I not listen to Lich King? First of all, I'm not to fond of the new wave of thrash metal and their joking image. It was fun for a little while, many years ago. So when people started talking about Born of the Bomb as the thrash album of 2012, I thought that Lich King had moved on, but no...
After a rather simple but pretty good introduction we come into the first couple of tracks which offers a little of this and a little of that. By that I mean it offers something for the NWOTM fan and me. The song We Came to Conquer well just by looking at the title I don't really have to explain it for you with lines of the lyrics going: "But none of that shit matters, Lich King rules"... A continuous thing that bothers me from time to time is the vocals, at some times they are just a little too much out of control with the "bvvaaaaaa" and it sounds like shit to be honest. Keep it clean, because Tom got some good vocals, and that really comes to life on the bands Agent Steel cover. It seems like Lich King are trying to let go of the cliché that they are a part of but they can't let it go. And would it really be a Lich King album without the tradition of ripping off Overkill with the self titled song divided in chapters? Of course not. Even though Patrick Lind and Jay Visser from legendary Morbid Saint appears on the song it doesn't appear to stick out from the other songs.
One thing I must hand out is that the band knows how to do a proper cover, at least they do now. The covers on their debut Necromantic Maelstrom are horrific... But in the vein of their Slayer cover from World Gone Dead the Agent Steel cover on this album is incredible and sounds really good. So an idea for the band. Do a cover album, it'll be a lot better.
And speaking of covers, it is not to anybody's surprise that Tom Martin did the artwork for this album.What is there to say about it? It is not the most breathtaking covers that Tom creates but they look pretty good and the cover for this album serves it right.
Honourable mentions from this album is Wage Slave, Agnosticism and Agents of Steel. I don't like to give an album a price as the best album of some random year, so to put it in another way. This album is not in the top of the best albums released in 2012, if you want some kick ass albums then try Overkill's The Electric Age, or Testament's Dark Roots of the Earth. Of course there's many more good albums but those two are the ones I could think of quick. Lich King does however advance from each album and Born of the Bomb is their best effort yet. They kind of got it together on this album but again they slip around the corner, and that is a damn shame. Maybe that is just the course for this band and how they will construct all of their albums, in that case, I'll just start looking away when they pop out with something new. But it could be worse, it is not like I have to listen to Phantom Mainstreamist or Mediocre Genocide.
Written for The Legacy Reviews
"Maybe other bands play, and maybe Manowar kills. But none of that s**t matters, Lich King Rules!". As i expected, Lich King didn't disappoint. After I had the chance to listen to their last album I was sure that the new one will be a good one and after listening to it I'm so happy I was right!
First of all, the mixing and the audio quality are better than any other Lich King record. The riffing is awesome, many of the riffs are pretty catchy and the songs are very well structured. The drummer works hard for the money, the bass is audible and the vocals are as good as usual. The thing that impressed me the most are the solos, the composition and complexity is awesome. I couldn't listen to a song without liking the solo. All of this combined make an awesome thrash album. It's hard to compare this album because Lich King have developed a pretty original style which is hard to compare, still it's pretty obvious that the Exodus, Testament or Kreator influences are there.
The lyrics are written with the same humorous style, keeping you entertained: "Fans are all jerks/Thanks for the tour bus but now we don't need you... so goodbye" (Fan Massacre) & "I will throw a baby/To save the town from scum/They explode robot heads/'Cause babies are dumb" (Axe Cop, a song based on the "Axe Cop" comic) being my favorite ones. Not all the lyrics are on the same humorous track, though. Some of the songs are covering serious topics, like philosophy or the economic system. If you have a good sense of humor and you like social-based topics, you will like the lyrics.
The overall atmosphere is a violent one, as it shall be (it's thrash, after all), but this album has the perfect combination between music and lyrics so you can't get bored. One of the best things about it it's that it doesn't get repetitive. Maybe a riff or two will seem to be alike, but overall it will keep you entertained for the whole audition. Every song deserves to be checked out, but the highlights for me are "Agnosticism", "Fan Massacre", "In the End, Devastation", "Combat Mosh" and "Axe Cop". They also covered an Agent Steel classic, "Agents of Steel" and did an excellent job.
Even if you're a die-hard old-school fan I'm sure you will still enjoy this album. It keeps the old-school sentiment alive and also has that new-wave feeling in it. For me, it's one of the best NWOTM albums. Also, if you enjoyed World Gone Dead, i'm sure you're gonna like Born of the Bomb too.