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Warpath | ‘Malevolent Reprisal’

Catching Warpath live a few months ago was a weird experience. It’s hard to say why. Probably because standing there watching them play, it all looked like a bit of a game. Death metal done precisely to script, almost demoralisingly so.

That’s not to say they’re not a worthy band. Far from it. Watching them simply begged the question of what else, apart from the usual death metal shopping list, they had to offer. In truth? Not much.

So at least it’s good and powerful death metal.

It’s a question that’s bothered me with Warpath for several years. Their ‘Gorefare’ demo was competent, confident, and yet lacking in that crucial x-factor – be it aggression, attitude, riffs, verve – which make for a lot of re-listening and a place in the hearts and minds.

Frustratingly, ‘Malevolent Reprisal’ shares the same fate.

It’s good death metal – but never once does it stray from the genre’s tightest and most restrictive confines.

If that’s what you’re into for forty minutes at a time, then it’s punishing and you’ll love it. I suspect however that people might prefer it in short bursts. In that case there are several genuine treats.

The best track is certainly ‘Point Blank Execution’. As direct and aggressive as its title suggests, it’s certainly the highlight of the band’s writing to date.

Catchy, fast and clever, after its initial flurry of grunts and battering, its got the kind of exceptionally groovy hook that’s impossible not to love. Not only that – the variety of riffs and beats within its four odd minutes are a display of real technical and songwriting confidence.

‘Enter My Lair’ too has a nasty, worming riff half way through it that somehow manages to sound sick in its own right. Like Cannibal Corpse’s ‘From Skin To Liquid’ it adds a dakrness and personality that the normal combination of music and vocals doesnt always have.

There’s a well done cover of Hatebreed’s ‘Tear It down’ to close out. Yet that’s not the only place where hardcore influence gets a look in. ‘The Red Mist’ certainly takes its main beat and general sound from that mindset. Again, it’s one of the more powerful tracks on here.

Even after such a competent and pounding display though, I’m still forcing myself to ask how necessary this album is to anyone’s collection. Objectively, Warpath are doing everything right. It’s just that it’s all the same. That, and that I don’t hear enough personality, enough vim, enough message in the vocals.

It would be unfair to write this off as sub standard. It isn’t. It’s powerfully recorded, tightly played (with a special prop to the highly imperssive rhythm guitar) and full of death metal spirit.

Yet even so, it remains stock.

Brutal death metal diehards will love it, and so perhaps that’s where it’s best recommended.
To other travellers it’s a solid release, but not one, I’d venture, that will be overly played. I just think it needs more creativity, and they’re not letting themselves because of a (possibly) misplaced adherence to genre tropes. They have the talent to move on.

2.9 / 5 – Earl Grey ::: 06/03/11

  1. I got it when it came out and I have to say I love it. I get a more hardcore feel off it when compared to Gorefare but I stil think it packs a serious punch. At arounf the 3.30 mark in rack one when the drumfill and different riff kicks in I wanna go beserk eachtime. Thats just me though. Serious tunes for the gym too. Will it redefine my music listening or make me forget about the likes of Cannibal Corspe; no. It will however get regular spins and I imagine the next album will be even better.

  2. Give me Warpath’s near perfectly executed to script DM over most of the sub-par DM bands doing the rounds at the moment.
    But I do undersand where you’re coming from in the review.
    They’ve got the basics well and truly cemented into place, IMO. So hopefully they can build on that with their next release.

  3. Martin Wyer Says:

    I do think Warpath are a talneted bunch, their material is perfectly executed, and they are probably one of the most professional acts on this Island. I unfortunately agree with this review to some extent though, I would like to see the band become a little more adventurous. I remember cathing them live one time going on before Condemned and creatively speaking Condemned were far more entertaining.

  4. warpath need to do anything with their music at all because its “their” music. how you can say “lack of creativity” is just pure negativity, they obviously have the following to justify the sound that they have. and most people who i have talked to who is a fan loves the new songs. im not preaching, im not a warpath fan but to say lack of creativity to them songs is just thick. im not a brutal death metal fan and i hate hardcore, so if i can enjoy the music it must be more than just “stock”.

  5. …..because its a review and in a review, the reviewer provides his own personal opinion on the tracks. Warpath submitted the album for reviewing, not for a backpatting session. I think the review is pretty much spot on myself.

  6. jizzlobber Says:

    I agree that this is a harsh review. More praise should be given to the high standard of this recording, albeit within established boundaries.
    There’s only a handful of extreme bands in Ireland currently prodcing stuff of this quality. So until thats changes I don’t think this type of criticsm is warranted.

  7. There’s many more than a handful.

  8. Can’t say I agree with the negative points made in this review at all, seems to be over nit-picking at what is already stated as “good and powerful death metal”. Personally I couldn’t fault this release in the slightest – powerful, extremely catchy, and perfectly executed death metal, different strokes for different folks I suppose

  9. ““lack of creativity” is just pure negativity, they obviously have the following to justify the sound that they have. and most people who i have talked to who is a fan loves the new songs. im not preaching, im not a warpath fan but to say lack of creativity to them songs is just thick”

    Yes, I also find their material to be lacking creativity, is that a bad thing to say?

    Should the review have focussed on their loyal following, or production values alone?

  10. Snatchgrabber Says:

    Hilariously predictable. Do none of you absolute spas know what the definition of a review is?

  11. jizzlobber Says:

    So what are these comment boxes available for? Is it to back up the review regardless of whether you agree with it or not?

    These boxes are here to give an opinion on someone else’s opinion. Thats what I and several others did. Where’s the fucking problem?

  12. I’ll fucking bust you up.

  13. Snatchgrabber Says:

    This is a formal request to admin to add boxes so that we can give opinions on the opinions of the opinions of the original opinion. Please honor this request or by Baphomets Behind, I shall give you my opinion on the matter

  14. nigfagger Says:

    You’re all so fucking gay with your hurt feelings.

    Harsh reviews happen, accept it or suck it.

  15. SlaughteredTits Says:

    Spot on review. Warpath are a Great band, but simple and at times boring. And the “Vokills” lack any depth in my opinion.

  16. Stephen Ireland Says:

    I find myself in full agreement with the review. It’s great for what it is, but if someone had only a tenner to spend on any album this month, would you really recommend this one? Really? No, you probably wouldn’t.
    Also, the Fetus influence is still a bit too much. Like, listen to the start of ‘Kill at all Costs’, and tell me John Gallagher couldn’t have written it in his sleep?

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