Release DetailsLABEL Southern Lord Records
RELEASED ON 1/23/2013
It’s made up of different songs, but it’s the same mash-up of Discharge, Motorhead, Anti-Cimex, Slayer, Tragedy...
Though once they were a haven for doom and the odd black metal effort, in recent years, Southern Lord has embarked upon an all-out takeover of the space once occupied by labels like Havoc, Profane Existence and Crimes Against Humanity, that dirty underside of the market wherein peddlers offer up the crustiest of metal-tinged punk efforts. D-beat by nature is limited in scope and attack, and it’s inevitable that the barrage will begin to blur together, so it's no small surprise that this resulted in a spate of similar records, some really good and some just good enough for a spin or two, lost in the flood. Iconic Nightmare is caught in that tide; in the deluge of d-beat discharges, it’s a deja vu disc – we’ve heard it all before, slightly different, sometimes better, sometimes worse.
Still, that last phrase is important: Nightmare is a far from failing effort. The energy is notable; the performance is solid, as standard and by the book as much of the material; the production is equally as thick and meaty as the band’s multitude of similar label-mates. Vocalist Bitty mostly barks and occasionally growls, with the latter at times approaching a death metal-ish tone – the d-beat roots coupled with the metal riffs in the latter bits of “No Sanctuary No Salvation” gives an almost Swedeath feel to that section, though thankfully Wartorn avoids becoming band #47789 to appropriate that signature buzzsaw tone. There are moments that are more metal, some more rock, and all of them punked-out – those sporadic tinges of lead guitar do nod to both Slayer and Motorhead, depending on the context.
In the end, there’s nothing at all wrong with this, nothing incorrect or unusual about what Wartorn is bringing to the table, but conversely, in the midst of the flood, there’s little about this Nightmare that stands terribly tall above the water line. Though it’s respectably executed, in the end, Iconic Nightmare sticks too closely to the standard blend of down-tuned guitars playing similar punk chords amidst the occasional guitar lead, all atop the same thrashing tempos with similar shouted vocals screaming similar sociopolitical lyrics. It’s made up of different songs, but it’s the same mash-up of Discharge, Motorhead, Anti-Cimex, Slayer, Tragedy... If you’ve got it in you to get excited about that after all the rest, then here’s another one, certainly done well enough, if well in the shadow of the Wolfbrigades and Martyrdods. And if B-level d-beat doesn’t float your boat any longer, then you can skip this one with little in the way of regrets.
All of this has happened before, and will again...
And seriously, what makes a nightmare iconic?