Warstorm is another thrash band hailing from the subgenre’s apparent new capital, Italy. “Goatspel” is their first full-length album, and to my surprise, it is not being released through Punishment 18 Records; instead, the band opted to use Earthquake Terror Noise as a label. This album takes a bit of a different approach from some of the band’s Italian counterparts. With only 6 tracks, it is a short release, but it also features an epic in the 10-minute title track. Despite this difference, Warstorm doesn’t sound particularly different from any other thrash band out there right now. They seamlessly switch tempos as they add and then remove aggression at will. The opening song, “Checkmate For Mankind” has a section with clean guitars that builds into a melodic guitar solo. With that in mind, the band isn’t going warp speed at every second of the album. One would think that would help the band stand out a bit more, but when all is said and done, “Goatspel” doesn’t really leave a lasting impact. Even the title track sounds more like 9 minutes of straight thrashing (after a short intro) rather than something a bit more unique, though there is a bit of atmosphere at the end.
If you don’t mind relatively predictable songwriting, there is a lot to enjoy here. The vocals are the standard Italian style: a somewhat monotone thrash grunt, but with a stereotypical Italian accent. This sound is particularly effective, though it might be starting to wear a little bit thin. These singers don’t all necessarily sound the same though. This is evident on “Cursed”, which features an appearance from Hyades’ singer. The two vocalists manage to utilize some enjoyable interplay between their lines, and it is enough to make this one of the stronger cuts on the album. Additionally, there is no shortage of riffs on “Goatspel”, though they primarily hearken back to Exodus rather than the more aggressive death/thrash bands or the sloppy black/thrash groups. The bass playing and drumming are both competent, though neither particularly stands out. Both play an excellent supporting role, choosing not to go over the top with fills, and instead letting the guitars take the lead. When it comes to the production, things are, once again, as you would expect. This album features a good guitar tone, though nothing rivaling the best in metal. None of the instruments need to fight for attention, and they all sound decent at worst.
As someone who has heard a lot (almost too much) Italian thrash, I can assure you that Warstorm are nowhere near the bottom of the barrel. There are quite a few bands I enjoy more, particularly because of their attention to creating memorable songs, but Warstorm still does an admirable job in bringing the riffs. If you are already familiar with Hyades, Game Over, and Omnivore, and want more, this band is sure to satisfy your cravings for thrash.
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3.5/5 or 70%.
Written by Scott