Warsenal is a 3-piece thrash group that comes from the metal-rich province of Quebec. Despite living quite a few hours away from these guys, I was definitely familiar with the name, and as a result, quite happy to see they were signed to the prolific Punishment 18 Records for their debut record “Barn Burner”. This album is a little bit uncharacteristic for the Italian label. Make no mistake, Warsenal is a full-on thrash band. Their approach to thrash, however, goes beyond simple Exodus or Kreator worship. The band takes a lot of influence from speed metal and even punk at times. There is a lot of Motorhead influence in their sound too (though that should be a given based on the style they play).
The opening track, “Dying On Stage”, is one of the best examples of the band’s spastic riff style. Many of their riffs sounds like there is an incredible amount of furious fretwork going on, far surpassing most standard thrash riffs. The slightly muddled production helps to amplify this perception, as it makes it even more difficult to discern exactly what the band is playing at times. These style of riffs are often very bluesy in their approach, not unlike something heard on the first two Lost Society records. When Warsenal’s guitarist really starts shredding, there is a considerable shift in tone and sound for the record. The band is occasionally very true to the one guitar player approach, as they do not always record rhythm tracks under the guitar solos (strangely they aren’t 100% consistent here, as solos do sometimes have rhythm guitar underneath). This is not inherently bad, but often times the bass playing is just as frenetic as the guitar playing during solos, and so there is no low-end holding things down. While this sound definitely has its own appeal, from a thrash perspective, it’s just a little too outside the box for me (though it would likely appeal to fans of more progressive thrash bands like Voivod).
The vocal approach on “Barn Burner” is fairly simplistic, as Warsenal’s singer shouts his way through the record with great effect. His voice largely hits the same notes on every song, but thrash was never about emulating Bruce Dickinson. For this reason, his standard grunt works perfectly. It’s actually a nice contrast between this and the semi-technical riffs that the band often uses, and for this reason, “Barn Burner” is a pretty intriguing listen. While the memorability of these songs is not quite as strong as some of the tunes by the bigger acts in thrash, there is little doubt that Warsenal is a talented band with a bright future.
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"Dying On Stage"
"Stab You One By One"
3.9/5 or 78%.
Written by Scott