(TheMadIsraeli reviews the new album by Warpath from Hamburg, Germany, which is out now via Massacre Records.)
Warpath are an interesting musical discovery for me. Originally a thrash metal band that had some moderate underground recognition in the ’90s, the band hung it up until the culmination of a reunion that resulted in a subsequent comeback album. Vocalist Dirk Weiss is the only original member, collecting an entirely new lineup. Warpath, in name, has come back, but with a new sound and one that’s impressive. It would be a shame for people to miss out on this.
Bullets For A Desert Session is a powerful testament to hybridization in metal, and an impressive metallic golem of deathly proportions. While thrash metal is still a part of Warpath’s sound, the band have mixed in the metallic heft and drag of bands like Celtic Frost and Crowbar, the filth of High On Fire, and a style of death/thrash that sounds a lot like The Crown. Dirk Weiss’s vocals are almost like a demonic version of Lemmy Kilmister mixed with the low-end grit of The Crown’s own Johan Lindstrand.
This record is full of thick, fat, juicy riffs, grooves, and filth in just about every way, and it provides a pretty unique experience that probably won’t come close to being replicated this year.
Opener “Reborn” is about as good as this album could possibly start. Muddy low-tuned riffs, palm-muted thrashtastic deathly passages, and a breakdown that’s like being beaten to death by having bricks thrown at you sets the mood effectively for what Warpath now is. When the band are going fast, it’s really fucking good. This is usually not the case for thrash-based bands who incorporate doom and groove elements into their music, especially when the riffs display this level of pure raunchiness.
Even more impressive is when the band isn’t firing on all cylinders, in such tracks as “Enemy Unseen”, “No One Can Kill Us” (this song is particularly badass for its inclusion of a Type-O Negative style breakdown), and the more plodding or sometimes absolutely abysmal tendencies of songs like “When War Begins”. The metric fuck-ton of G-force that Warpath generate when they’re hitting their slower notes is stupidly powerful in its propulsive force. You feel like you’re being crushed in some odd cosmic sense.
My personal favorite, though, is the gloomy “Crossing”, which sounds like it could’ve been on a Type-O Negative record if Type-O had gotten a ton darker in their sound. More progressive numbers like “Offensive Behavior” are also present, featuring more oddball melodies and intricate guitar work than is the album’s norm.
Bullets For A Desert Session is most definitely an album that should not be overlooked. It’s a stand-out titanic obsidian tombstone of skull-smashing intensity.