Warbeast - Destroy
Season Of Mist
Thrash Metal
10 songs (45:56)
Release year: 2013
Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Goat

Originally formed as the Texas Metal Alliance from members of the late 80/early 90s Texas thrash scene such as Gammacide, Rigor Mortis, and Rotting Corpse to play a benefit gig for former Hammer Witch bassist Wayne Abney after a motorbike accident, the band that would become Warbeast apparently received such a good crowd response that they recorded new material. Listening to their second album, it’s easy to understand why, as Destroy is such a slathering beat of a thrash album that no self-respecting metal crowd could help but go nuts to it. From the opening riffs of intro Cryogenic Thawout, which builds up in classic Slayer fashion (and what a pleasant diversion it is to again hear riffs in an intro track, instead of some ambient fiddling?) towards an imminent explosion whilst being careful not to neglect a tune beneath it all, you know you have unearthed some quality thrash. And the double-bass kicks that open first track proper (and deeply infectious album highlight) Nightmares in the Sky are gleefully welcoming, leading you into the sort of album spiritually and aurally in the era of classic Sepultura

Thrash fans can skip the rest of this review and buy immediately, then, but it’s worth examining Destroy in detail. The production of the album was handled by Phil Anselmo, this being released on his Housecore label in the US and Warbeast having appeared on a recent split with his new Illegals project, and it has an excellent mix, the guitars raw but having a big thick tone that slams into your ears without hindering the other instruments at all. It sounds like a modern thrash band in terms of power and groove, but you have to remember that these guys are veterans and have been thrashing for years. Guitarist Scott Shelby is little shy of 50, for instance, having played with at least five other bands, and his partnership with Bobby Tillotson is a brilliant one, the two cranking out the compelling riffs like their life depends on it. The album certainly does, the songs distinct and interesting, driven by the hoarse bellowed vocals but dependent on the riffs for lifeblood…

As well as being an arse-kickingly good slice of riff-focused thrash metal, it’s also far, far more than a mere latecomer to the nu-thrash revival that I took such pleasure in whining about a few years ago. Giving the album a few listens, as I have lately, it’s notably clever in songwriting aspects, making tracks more immediately vicious as the album continues but also more likely to indulge in interesting meanders, the likes of Egotistical Bastard having mid-paced sections that explore a mid-paced theme for a minute or so before returning to the breakneck pounding in an oddly prog-like way. Don’t expect anything akin to Voivod, say, but it’s certainly not the most lunkheaded of thrash, and it’s all the better for it. The seven-minute The Day Of… is a mini-epic, for example, complete with 80s-style sampled voiceovers talking of Presidential assassinations, 9/11 and other disasters, fading out on a high note before the crushing Warbeast kicks in. You can see where the focus of the album lies from how damn good this track is, upping the tempo to a ridiculously galloping blast and indulging in widdly solos all over the place.

Little touches elsewhere like the drum and riff interplay in Blood Moon, or the backing gang shouts that add an epic touch to the already grandiose Nobody add a lot of solid quality. The closing title track is more modern in tone, all feedback and mid-paced groove building up to a fuzzy fadeout, but even then the band aren’t done, bonus track Nameless ripping along like Exodus at their best. So it’s not quite the raw, deranged Rrröööaaarrr-esque mess that that drawn-on-homework artwork would suggest, but make no mistake, this is a fast, bloodthirsty album that takes no prisoners, spending most of its running time blasting along like Destruction on crack. As far as thrash released this decade, hell, this century goes, Warbeast is definitely in the top bracket.

Killing Songs :
Nightmares in the Sky, Egotistical Bastard, Nobody, Blood Moon, War of the Worlds
Goat quoted 84 / 100
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