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Fall From Reality

War Anthem (2018)
Rating: 7/10

It’s no wonder that the frost this winter has become impossible to remove from the windscreen of the car, because it’s been seven years since German metalheads Evil Warriors released their debut album (2011’s Expressions Of Endless Dreams). So, I guess it’s welcome back guys, did you bring enough De-Icer?

Evil Warriors are a pale outfit which has combined black metal, thrash metal and death metal since their inception in 2007. There’s certainly an air of frosty mystery about these guys, who wouldn’t seem too out of place on a murky Moonfog compilation cassette from the late 90s, because that’s the sort of cacophony Evil Warriors go for.

So don’t be put off by the rather cheesy moniker, because this is in fact a rather serious posse of party-poopers who dabble in sharp objects and grainy film to create their spiky brand of effective and downright chilly black mayhem.

The sinister, distant echoes of the vocals and the at times cold, scraping guitar chords are only a small part of what Evil Warriors take from that grandiose black metal orchestration we’re all familiar with. But beneath the thorny barricades are some wondrously arrogant structures which dig in the ribs and remain thorns in the side through their duration.

For 46 minutes we find ourselves attempting to clamber out of a malevolent eight-track blizzard, whereby the band treats us to high doses of cavernous speedballs which are only occasionally interrupted by slower, jagged shards which are as equally cutting. It’s all very much vicious black metal design, although it’s a structure all too cold and probably gleaming to pay a nod to the 80s or even the mid-90s.

And so it’s towards that far end of the 90s and early 00s that I find myself shining a torch to for ways of describing this sniping, bitter and mocking soundscape, where the drums are literally hurled at you like rocks and the guitars rattle away like a frosty skeleton, although there are some killer slower passages where the riffs take on an oily, wobbly and above all fiery belch, seemingly carving a heated path through the mire of pristine snow.

This is extremely evident with my favourite tune ‘Excess’, although the aptly titled ‘Pillow Of Cold Water’ gives it a run for its money in the speedy stakes; lashing at the flash as if one has been raked by a set of icicle fingernails. It’s not quite a jarring density, but a hasty retreat more like into the stark woods where branches lash at the face and snot drips into ones mouth before freezing on the tongue.

The air of mystery is always maintained, probably due to that elusive atmosphere which threads this thorny mess together as vocalist Beast spits, salivates and rasps his way through the merry chants on offer. Check out his mournful growls on the mournful passage of ‘Pillow Of Cold Water’ before its sparks into another fit, or become entrenched in the icy slurry of ‘Idleness And Doom’, a seven-minute ice blast only matched by the hysterical scowls of ‘Worthless Wretch’ that supplies equal measures of frostbite and gloomy plundering.

‘All The Stars’ finishes us off with a frozen mallet to the face ; a black ice blast of hammering drums and racing chords which in true black metal frenzy seem to offer only a wall of evil until unexpected mayhem-esque suspense comes galloping out of the mist on a fantastic bubbling bass line.

Wrap up warm guys and gals!

Neil Arnold

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