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Only a year ago, the Metal world was taken into another glory ride by the debut album of the Heavy Metal Viking clan of No Remorse No Retreat from England. Near the end of 2009, the English Viking made another offering for the gods of Metal and they released their second album, Warbringer, again under the same label that is looking up to the band – Ironage Records.
Largely, Warbringer, once again, lands you back to the great battle of Vikings, pillaging, slaughtering and such in the name of the Eden of Valhalla, Odin and all that is considered believable among Viking warriors. However, when coming to the album’s musical form, the picture got a bit different. Before that, it must be announced that due to the new production, No Remorse No Retreat became, besides their material, even stronger on their new coming war tour. Their overall production gave the band a new edge of modernity that actually suited them as opposed to their earlier sound on their first album, which was rather an old school similar to a new version of NWOBHM. The man behind the success of the Disciple / Ascpae studio is Dave Lear, praises for him for a good job done.
Coming in to the band’s wishes for the new album, it seems that they took a bit of a turn from reviving the NWOBHM and rather escaped to a much darker neighborhood of Heavy Metal. First, judging by their new sound, there is a very darkened and gloomy feeling about it, the material seems abit harsher and fiercer than in the past. Sometimes you will even step on several reminders of Traditional Doom Metal that serve as a filling to the chunky heavy and groovy riffs that encircle the album. Furthermore, the set of vocals on this release is far tougher than on the first album, here we are hearing a manic raspy toned Viking leader who spits out the lyrics and chants with ferocity and conviction under the booming drums of war.
You can conclude from all these factors that No Remorse No Retreat gave you a heavier and harsher album that swayed to a rather different direction with hope that it will be the right one. Well, it could have been the right one, because it has what it takes, yet, the formula used by the band on the first album, the meanings of creating mass catchy like phrased songs as a Viking Metal attribute, began to tire abit on this one.
On their first album, To Glory We Ride, through great songs such as “Victory Or Valhalla”, “To Glory We Ride” and “We Are The Werewolves”, one could have recognized the band’s way to attract more listeners and that is by trying to create a sort of a mega catchy hit that will make those songs remembered. From this end, they succeeded. Nevertheless, when you try to implement this sort of procedure to an entire album, it is a bound risk with serious chances on taking a dive through the mud. What happened on Warbringer is something of that sort.
As far as it comes to the first songs, their path is clear – attack! Attack! Attack! , no mercy! However, after spinning the album more than enough, you would see that it is all the same. It’s great that the band wanted to keep it simple and somewhat defy Viking Metal (as it is a much complex sub-genre filled with folklore elements and progressions), yet, how closely similar, mostly structure wise, those songs can really be?
Another thing, because the band’s aims seem to be directed on catchiness, the choruses are practically delivered in the same manner all around. With those mentioned, there are the riffs, it seems that the band has a problem on writing additional riffs, the ones presented are simple and cool, yet what about filling the songs with two or maybe even one additional riffs. This sort of basic like song writing made them too much expected. This comment accounts for almost all the songs.
It is rather hard to administer those remarks on Warbringer because instead of being potentialized on a route to victory, it rather tends to bitter defeat of a catchy bowl of nothing. One can spin this album once and be done with it. The main purpose is to keep the listener a fan afterwards without coming on second listen boredom.
With the negative attributes of Warbringer a few things shed a bit of light on it. First, there are a few depths, gloomy sounded solos of true power here, shame that not on every song, yet those are pleasing moments of grandeur. Alongside them there a songs that were driven by hard and groovy riffs of utter simplicity yet quite fun to listen.
Highlights: “Fight Or Die” , “This Means War” , “We March” , “Let The Battle Begin” , “War Age”.
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- Lior “Steinmetal” Stein (April, 2nd 2010)
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