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Something good came out of Swansea, UK this year... Warpath as the new "old school" Thrash Metal act. The group, which originated in 2003, presents itself as a carrier of the flame for Thrash Metal in the vein of the 80’s and early 90’s. The first step in the Metal world was their EP release in 2005 which was called Cataclysm, since then the people knew that the gloves were off. This year they broke out with another fast paced, heavy release, which took the world back to 1986, Damnation. The band’s main influences in Thrash, that can be recognized, are bands like: Slayer, Exodus and Overkill. Unlike numerous European Thrash bands, the English quartet has taken the road of Thrash Metal – American style.
The production, by vocalist and guitarist, Richard Goss along with the mixing by the famous Death’s and Obituary’s guitarist James Murphy, is absolutely amazing by creating the perfect sound of the 80’s Thrash Metal scene with crunchy and heavy guitars that consist of riffs and Heavy Metal solos, profound drums and angry, clean vocals and of course, a mantle of bass sound all around.
The band’s music has the effect and power that can bring tears to the eyes of a Thrasher and that fulfills any longing for true old school Thrash Metal material. Energy, heaviness and a lot of power, that’s the name of the game for these guys. All of these qualities are presented on all the songs but especially in “Damnation” and “Hostile Takeover”.
Warpath doesn’t settle for less and will attack at will. Their themes and lyrics are about subjects that were discussed by most of the Thrash bands back in the 80’s like: war, violence, total annihilation and the occult. Although, listeners are faced with the fact that Warpath hasn’t brought anything new to Thrash Metal scene, that most of it, today, has gone modern with low tuned guitars and much raspier vocals and even growls, doesn’t say that they are copycats of the old. They are more the remnants and followers of a much larger scene that ruled Thrash Metal in the 80’s and in many ways, went astray a bit. Their doctrine is simple, and that is to carry the torch for others to learn the true way.
The members of Warpath surely deserve recognition as a unified group that truly knows and abides by its role and law. Vocalist, guitarist and producer, Richard Goss, is a talented singer, but is not too great. This guy can really sing a lot better. He is not expected to rise to high tones like Belladonna but he can afford to be more diverse in his vocal approach. As a guitarist he presents some great solo parts and crushing heavy rhythms. Pete Hawthorne, the lead guitarist, as a leader, produces various great solos and alternate picking parts. Gareth Allen, the bass player, is the manager of bass aura that contributes to the album’s heaviness along with the two axemen. And then there is the drummer, James Davenport, who demonstrates high skill drumming, especially in some speedy double bass areas
It's true that Warpath’s material is just a continuance of many American Thrash Metal bands from the 80’s. However, this young group of fellows present various destructive tracks from the land of the “tea time”. The opener, “Damnation”, is a great Speed / Thrash song, a real kick in the face. This one contains everything from heavy riffs, power and speediness. “Hostile Takeover”, which is in the vein of Slayer’s best album, Reign In Blood is another mosher with great 80’s Heavy Metal solos. “Expendable Forces” brought the first thought of Metallica’s “Expendable Heroes” from 1986, but it’s not the same. It’s theme is almost similar, in general, but the music is far heavier and faster with great melodic solos. “Face To Face” and “W.M.D” (Weapons Of Mass Destruction and Deception) hangs out as solid yet heavy tracks.
Warpath may not be the most original band that has come out, but they abide by the code of "old school" Thrash Metal and they won’t surrender to the new age and modernization. Preserving the old is an important role that should be carried out or else it will be gone and done for. Warpath is doing just that thing and that is an honor to have them as one of the keepers of true Thrash Metal. May many new Thrash bands do the same as them because they are the future, and the future begins now.
I don't like most so-called new-wave thrash metal bands, but the British band Warpath is truly an exception. After an EP in 2005, the band released its first full-length in 2008, Damnation. It displays a superb musical ensemble, with proof that Warpath is a lot better than your average new thrash band. The vocals are the weak point of the album, and perhaps they should consider getting a professional singer. Still, they are not “bad” in the strict sense of the word, since the good songwriting makes more than up for it. The clean, grumpy singing lacks aggression and variation, but as I said the musical part makes you forget about all that.
Contrary to most new thrash bands, there is in fact originality to be found here. Lots of riffs have that subtle Eastern touch that reminds one of Exodus' “Piranha” or even Artillery's “Khomaniac”. A strong point of the music is that it manages to incorporate non-thrash parts, without loosing any straightforwardness. Think of those late '80s “progressive” bands with their instrumental doodles, but with an extra injection of aggression and no-bullshit attitude. Or you could put it like this: it's the best of both worlds – a good combination of in your face thrash and instrumental chops. Guitars, bass and drums are all first-rate and prove the potential of Warpath.
The production is very well done too, providing a clean environment where all instruments come to their right. It's remarkable that an unsigned band managed to come up with such a good final product and I sincerely hope they can find a decent record company. Warpath are without a doubt one of the best unsigned bands of the moment. Though it is far from optimal, Damnation is a very enjoyable release that deserves your attention! Recommended to all thrash metal fans. (originally written for Metalcrypt)
Warpath is a new band on the thrash scene from the United Kingdom. If you’re looking for something original, you won’t find it here. The vocals are everything you’d come to expect if you’re a thrash fan. Richard Goss has some bland vocals, but it’s not too bothersome considering his guitar playing makes up for it. Pete Hawthorne is a very good player who can pull of some great solos; the guitar playing overall is defiantly a highlight. The bass player Gareth Allen is good as well, and you can actually here it here with the surprisingly good production. James Davenport is also an exceptional drummer; the line up here is solid besides the vocals.
The songs themselves range from good to below average. No song here is truly terrible, but none are really exceptional. “Eternal Damnation” is a fitting opener with a great solo and nice drumming. The playing from Pete Hawthorne is the best thing about this album; the metal scene should recognize him. “Infernal” has some superb drumming, which is performed close to perfection. Good luck finding a classic here, because they all have their similarities, which on here isn’t a positive thing. Every song has the same premise and feel, I understand how that can be part of the genre but it’s just overwhelming at some points here. “Face to Face” has to be one of my favorite tracks due to the very catchy riff, and the layered vocals actually make them sound better.
Many thrash fans should find something here to like here. The vocals are very bland, which drags the album down, but the musicianship is superb. Many listeners will feel like there’s something missing. This band has a ton of potential, and we all need to keep or eyes on them.