(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the impressive, just-released debut album by the Polish band Thunderwar.)
Alright. One more review for 2016.
Thunderwar are a rookie melodic death metal quartet from Warsaw, Poland, who bring something of a blackened take to the style. It’s unfortunate that their album was released late this month, as it won’t have a fair chance of being recognized on year-end lists. Maybe sometime in Q1 2017 I’ll do a “Top 10 albums in 2016 left in the dust because they were released in December and therefore came in too late for top albums of 2016 lists because these lists need to be published ASAP for clicks instead of waiting ’til 2017 to give a 100% informed account of 2016’s musical landscape” list.
The timing is unfortunate because for me Black Storm is the most impressive debut of 2016 in this style, alongside Betrayal’s Infinite Circles.
Of course, coming from Poland, Thunderwar know how to write pretty fucking pristine death metal. They take that trademark imperial might for which the scene has always been known and mix it with the frigid, brittle melodic tendencies of Dissection and the power groove of Kataklysm. The result is a sound that’s difficult to say no to, both in its heft and in its emotive power.
The musicians behind Thunderwar are exceptionally good at what they do. Vocalist/bassist Kamil “Madness” Mandes vomits and roars into the mic with Patrick Mameli-esque conviction, while lead guitarist Witold Ustapiuk stands out with some remarkably expressive yet shreddy solo work; these two definitely excel.
The mix on this album is also great because it’s very raw and relatively unrefined. Melodic death metal suffers from a huge “shiny plastic toy” problem when it comes to album mixes where, much like djent albums, they are expected to be polished to a mirror sheen. I think more atmospheric and less-polished mixes overall add a more human intensity, and that approach helps the music on Black Storm quite a bit.
The record also reveals a good amount of diversity. The opener “Marvel At My Sins” is a fantastic, mid-paced, Kataklysm-esque power-stomp anthem with a sensational chorus powered by harmonized tremolo leads. Compare this to the next track, “New Age Prophecy”, which is very much a pummeler that fires at a machine-gun rate and feels like a proper nod to countrymen and death metal masters Vader. “Black Storm Will Unfold”, the album’s first single, is also a fitting tribute to everything good about Polish extreme metal, while also incorporating other classic ingredients.
I enjoyed this album a shit ton. I like the sound, I like what Thunderwar are doing, and I’m very interested to hear what they do next. Check it out.
Black Storm features painted cover art by Eliran Kantor. The album was released by Witching Hour Productions on December 20, 2016. It’s available now in CD formats and it’s also available for pre-order on tape and vinyl. Get the physical editions HERE. It’s also available for download here: