Release DetailsLABEL Candlelight
RELEASED ON 5/5/2006
posted on 8/2006 By:
Since becoming a contributor to this site, as well as the site I previously wrote for, it’s become apparent to me just how impossible it is to be totally aware of every band on the planet unless you do absolutely nothing but immerse yourself in metal 24/7, which is something a good 90% of us just can’t do. Speaking as an avid metal fan, I know there’s always some great band currently falling under my radar, and Torchbearer is one of those bands who have recently become something more to me than just a blip on a huge screen. After finally getting to hear Yersinia Pestis, I’d have to say Warnaments makes perfect sense as a follow-up, and is no less impacting than the debut.
It’s not often that I hear a 35-minute concept album that sounds completely realized, and unmitigated. Torchbearer’s tweaks the black metal elements of their debut by adding a great deal of burly power to their interestingly layered songwriting, exercising restraint with their speed, and letting the songs flow in different directions without losing track of where they’re going. The list of bands connected to Torchbearer due to various members other projects is long, Satariel, Scar Symmetry, and Incapacity to name but a few, so it’s no real surprise just how current and modern the material sounds here, but it is a little surprising how it’s still fresh and archetypal. There is a definitive start, middle, and end to this mightily performed, concentrated effort, which is plotted out using every moment to the fullest.
The album title, Warnaments, might be a little off-putting as sounding like clever wordplay, but the music itself and the subject matter (World War 1’s ‘Battle Of Jutland’) is anything but jovial. The melodies sound very unhappy, and resonate with an atmosphere of dread, and somber resolution even when things reach breakneck speed. It’s black metal performed with death metal’s heft, and thrash metal’s groove. The more accelerated parts fit in smoothly with chunkier components, none of it goes over-the top towards any extremity, and best of all, the shit sounds tight. Damn tight. Instead of making the listener play keep-up with the music, Torchbearer effectively manipulate the course of the album in such a way that makes for very easy listening even at it’s most voracious and complex, which I like a lot. That’s called great fucking songwriting, kiddies, even if they haven’t made anything astoundingly innovative. The lack of a highlight track brings things down a notch, but as an overall effort Warnaments smokes from start to finish.
This is an extraordinarily solid sophomore effort, with one hand reaching for the upper tier of the genre. The production values assist in interpreting the music excellently, and the substantial bite of the mix is ingenious. Warnaments has been in my regular casual listening rotation for quite a while now, and shows how a band can be sophisticated and multifaceted while still ripping your head clean off at whatever speed they wish. Highly recommended, and absolutely guaranteed to place high on my Year End list. A compact, masterful tour-de-force.
Register to post comments.