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Well-produced demo with some cool moments - 70%

cetacean, May 24th, 2014

Considering their pedigree (founded by ex-Witchkiller guitarist Kurt Phillips), it's sad that Warhag never amounted to much beyond this demo (as far as I know) except for local shows and a few digital tracks cut with the new lead singer. However, being the proud owner of copy "47/500" of the original CD release, I've always had a soft spot for it.

Production-wise it's pretty good for a "demo," definitely studio-recorded without any kvlt or rehearsal crap. The volume isn't overwhelming but what the album lacks in loudness it makes up for with clarity, in that you can actually hear all the instruments. The overall sound is typical heavy-metal fare with standard rock progressions and lots of melodic guitar work, except for the first half of the title track (an interesting foray into doom metal territory with a sluggish tempo, heavy reverb, and lots of dissonance). Most of the guitars are double-tracked, which isn't a big deal in itself but it does make it painfully obvious that parts of certain songs (i.e. the solo from "Rage Of Angels," the second half of the title track) could have been much MUCH better if the band had spent more time on them rather than noodling around in the studio and slapping down whatever sounded good at the time. Kyle's vocals deserve praise for being theatrical but well-suited to the style with lots of vibrato and portamento (the latter might be a little excessive). His performance is especially noteworthy considering that Kurt wrote most of the lyrics and they can get very wordy at times. Joy has a few vocal lines as well but the band wisely keeps them ornamental and most of the choruses benefit greatly from her presence.

Taking all the above into account, nearly every track on this demo has something worthwhile to offer, especially the arguable highlight of "Saxon's Return" (a re-worked Witchkiller cover). The only true exception is "Mean Mouth," a vaguely punk-sounding hodgepodge that starts out boring and goes nowhere with silly lyrics to boot. The fact that it's the only track where all band members share songwriting credit might, sadly, help explain why the band couldn't hang together long enough to release anything else.