Album Title: Trench War
This is the first full-length album from Warlust, a Dutch band playing fast, war-metal style black metal.
The first thing I noticed about this album is the vocals. I'm not sure how many bottles of Jaegermeister he had to go through to achieve the effect, but the final product is a full-tilt scream-snarl that's one of the better vocal performances I've heard in a while. It's often multi-tracked with itself, or with a deathy growl, for a layered vocal effect. The guitar sound is sharp and cutting, in both lead and backing parts, and is shadowed by some rather subtle bass work. The drums are another outstanding thing about this band. Both fast and slow parts are excellent, but the drumming truly shines during the blasting sections. Each beat is well-defined, yet delivered at a blistering pace, and the relatively clear production lets you hear every one.
The songwriting here is great. It's not often that a black metal band can be praised for the use of lead guitar, but this band is an exception. The leads here are reminiscent of classic 80's metal, catchy as hell and twice as heavy. The rhythm guitar riffs are nearly as complex. They more than carry the songs when alone, and shift back to complement or counterpoint the main melody when the lead guitar is present. The pace of the songs tends toward ballistic, but there are a few well-placed samples and breaks. During the latter, the band will go from a period of full-out assault to a stripped-down section with minimal instruments, only to take off again after a moment or two. This gives the breaks a very natural feel. Unfortunately, some of these songs end far too abruptly, so much so that they almost sound unfinished. This is obviously a purposeful decision, but I'd still have liked to hear a more gradual ending to some of these, especially "Sterf, Christenhond".
All in all, this is a fine album, and it's a shame that this band broke up. If you're a fan of blasting black metal, or you might like to get something to complement that Bestial Warlust CD, give this one a try. It won't disappoint.
Standout Tracks: Wings of War, Artillery Fire, The Final War II (Drenched In Blood)