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Well, this is an unexpected turn of events. A surprise even. On the other hand, a third album always has something magical in thrash metal land. Lich King have obviously made a choice and successfully I might add. Gone are the generic winks at black metal, cartoon lyrics, indecisive vocals and horrible homemade Nintendo production. Lich King have grown up and now want to play with the big boys of retro thrash.
They still have their humour, since most of their lyrics are almost too cliché to be true but the emphasis isn’t on them anymore. It’s all about the music this time. The lyrical content is woven into the music, often even disappearing. The group focusses much more on the songs and entire atmosphere of the album. With the exception of ‘ED-209’ of course but that song is pretty great and catchy.
World Gone Dead shows us how Lich King are actually inspired by Slayer (not just the cover but many, many riffs) and thrown in some Bay Area late eighties slow paced mosh riffs and remarkably nice leads. And on ‘Behaver’ they actually sound as if they want to take the niche Dekapitator left behind right after The Storm Before the Calm. On the Slayer cover ‘Aggressive Perfector’ Lich King truly show how good they can actually play. Even the vocals are remarkably close to the original and very enjoyable.
So all in all Lich King have come up with the perfect album all of sudden now? Not quite. The biggest setback on WgD is that not all riffs and melodies are equally good. Whereas ‘Act Of War’ is pretty much perfect from start to finish, the heavily CelticFrost inspired doomthrash song ‘Grindwheel’ is only worth checking out for the sweet guitar harmony in the middle which gives a strong and very enjoyable Master Of Puppets feeling.
Also the majority of riffs on ‘A Storm of Swords’ sound like Exodus rejects and the song doesn’t get interesting till after 4 minutes. Then there is a breakdown in ‘Terror Consumes’ which is just too damn metalcorish for my taste in thrash but fortunately a fast section with lead takes over. But still... It’s those details which prevent WgD from becoming the best surprise of the year sofar.
Toxik Holocaust remain stale, GamaBomb are going downhill fast, one wonders if FueledByFire and Violator can live up to expectations and also quite a few retro thrash acts lost their touch after one or two albums already but Lich King do the opposite and have released their best effort yet.
Highlights: Act of War, ED-209, Waste, Behaver, Aggressive Perfector